The Executive Director of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Henry Kwabena Kokofu, said the duty of every one on earth is to protect the environment. He made the statement at the program organized by Multimedia on National Dialogue on Small Scale Mining and the way forward.
According to him, in Genesis 1: 28 commanded every human being to take care of all things created by God. He encouraged everyone to stick to his duties, and prioritize the caretaking of the environment. He wanted Ghanaians to be responsible and take the fight of protecting the water bodies, land, and the forest in especially the mining areas
He said the government is committed in fighting the legal mining going on in the society. There are good plans and policies that the government has putting in place to make sure our water bodies, land, and the forest is protected. He wants the people to keep calm and put confidence in the government, to solve all challenges.
This program was organized the back of the call made by the President in his last State of the Nation’s address in parliament last year. He calls for a broad stakeholder discussion on the illegal mining in Ghana. After the hard work of the government to solve the menace, has not yield the expected result.
MESSAGE OF THE CHIEFS
The custodians of the land are very angry because, they said the government dumped them in the course to end the challenge. They said the government is not fair to them the land owners, by giving people concession in the capital city without their consent and even informing them.
They complained of not getting any royalties from the mining going on in the communities. They benefit not from the activities, which rather destroys their farm lands, forest, water bodies and properties. This is bringing hardship to them, instead of getting development from the deposits in their lands.
Also, the commuters do not get job to do and rather, outsiders rather are getting the job to do, and getting wealth at the expense of the blessing given to them by God. They blamed the politicians as the main cause of the situation, because they sideline them and shared the concession among themselves, without taking them and the residence into consideration.
In conclusion, any effort of the government to fight illegal mining without them will fail. They want them to consult and collaborate with them in the fight. They also want all operations to come to the district level, instead of making laws from the capital, which does not solve the issue on the ground.
PLIGHT OF COMMUTERS
Many community members have complained bitterly about the condition of their lives and the way politicians are treating them. They made mention that, some soldiers and other taskforce of the government extracts monies from them. They sometimes pay as much as GH$ 1 billion to them before they get the equipment from them or operate again on the site.
They want the activities of the mining sector be brought to the District level, in support of the message of the chiefs. They need proper drinking water in the community. In addition, they need development and employment from the government.
In 2017, there are many agitations and Media coalitions against Galamsey (illegal mining) in the country. The president is just sworn in as the head of state, and due to the huge public opinion and wish, he promised to put his presidency on the line, to fight the illegal mining in the country.
He constituted Inter-Ministerial Task Force Against Illegal Small Scale Mining (ITFAISSM), Operation Vanguard, and other Task force to climb down on the menace going on in the country. The Inter-Ministerial Committee, is in charge of the land and the awarding of the license and necessary papers to mine.
The other Task force are the Military, police and other security bodies, in charge of arresting the illegal miners, protection of the forest, seizing equipment and sometimes destroying them completely. They have all the necessary tools needed for the fight, including doctors and nurses to take care of health issues.
Unfortunately, the situation became worse and the president has to call for an engagement on how to end the problem ones and for all. People took advantage of the situation to amass wealth for themselves and their personal interest, instead of thinking about the wellbeing of the people in that areas.
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