Lafia — Illicit bush burning has ripped nature bare in much of Nasarawa state, in violation of state environmental laws.
But environmental authorities have continued to look the other way as if there was nothing wrong with the development. Management of the Nasarawa Environmental Protection Agency, the authority responsible for the enforcement of the laws, have always expressed helplessness with the yearly development which happens when grasses dry up with the dry season.
Our correspondent observed that the illicit act is fast gaining grounds in the state, like it is in the neighboruing communities of Benue state.
While some indulge in the act in order to clear grasses around their homes, many set the bushes ablaze to clear the way for game hunting. This is the period for game hunting in many parts of the country especially in North-Central where the two neighbouring states of Nasarawa and Benue are known for.
Many communities in Nasarawa have tried on their own to formulate and enforce regulations to stop the act, but only elders are complying, while youths in search of game act with defiance.
"In our community, as it is in neighbouring places, youths have become defiant to regulations against bush burning, and there is nothing elders alone can do to stop the trend", said an elder of Agyaragu along Lafia-Makurdi Road.
The elder who gave his names only as Egye, said bush burning has become a tradition among the communities in the state, stressing it would be difficult to stop the people.
Our correspondent observed that the illicit act has so far cleared bush along major roads running through the states as no day passed by without one incident of bush fire been witnessed in the state. Much of this was observed around communities along Lafia-Makurdi Road, linking the two neighbouring states.
Further observation showed that while the act was being carried out with impunity, members of various communities were being affected on a daily basis as many reports say not less than a dozen houses and other properties including farms have been razed down by uncontrolled bush fires.