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Appointees allegedly involved in galamsey being investigated

I will not protect anyone found culpable – President

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has disclosed that security agencies are currently investigating the alleged involvement of government appointees including Metropolitan, Municipal and District chief executive (MMDCEs) in the galamsey activities.

He assured that he will not protect any appointee found to be involved in illegal mining activities (galamsey) in the country.

He said the people found to be involved in illegal mining activities, he said, could face 15 years and above in prison.

President Akufo-Addo was speaking at a meeting with MMDCEs in the Ashanti region in Kumasi to deliberate on the alarming rate of galamsey activities in the region and how to effectively contain the menace.

“As a President, I am committed and determined to contain the fight against galamsey, come what may”, he said.

Galamsey, Newscenta, House of Chiefs, meeting, Kumasi, Nana Akufo-Addo,

The effective fight to contain the menace would also help the New Patriotic Party to break the eight, he added.

President Akufo-Addo pointed out that, it had become evident that if stringent measures were not taken immediately to stop the illegal mining, things would escalate.

The President had earlier met members of the National House of Chiefs on the same issue and said the government was committed to fighting illegal mining to ensure that rivers and water bodies became clear and clean again in the country.

He reiterated his commitment to working hand-in-hand with Chiefs, traditional rulers and all stakeholders in the fight against Galamsey.

According to him, “it is obvious that, if we are to win the fight, you and I have to take the lead to collaborate closely to do so. That is why I am here today.”

The President noted that 80% of the lands Ghana continue to be under the custody of Chiefs, whereas the remainder of 20% is held in trust by the President.

What this means, he said is that, ultimately, the welfare of the state of the lands is the joint responsibility of Chiefs and the President, although, by statute, the minerals in the soil belong to the President in trust for the people.

Galamsey, Newscenta, House of Chiefs, meeting, Kumasi, Nana Akufo-Addo,

“Historically, we discharged that responsibility well. Even though, for centuries, we have been a mining nation, mining did not pose a threat to the health of our environment and water bodies.

“The rules that you put in place for mining ensured that the sanctity of our lands remained intact, and our water bodies remained unpolluted.

“Tragically, in the modern era, that is no longer the case. And that is why I have come to you today to talk about how, together, we can repair this dramatic situation,” he said.

President Akufo-Addo indicated that, since he took office, on January 7, 2017, he has made it a central feature of his presidency to lead in the efforts to rid the country of the menace of Galamsey, with a firm commitment made in his inaugural speech on the matter.

“It has not been easy, it has not been popular, and we have not got the immediate results that I was looking for.

“Indeed, in the last elections of 2020, my stance on the issue cost my party and I significant losses in the mining communities.

“It turned out that my statement that I was putting my presidency on the line in the fight against galamsey was neither bombast nor recklessness. It was the simple truth,” he said.

The President added that, “We have tried many initiatives, including that of the Community Mining Scheme, and the establishment of a new legal regime for dealing with the perpetrators of this phenomenon, which has imposed severe sanctions on those, Ghanaians and foreigners, convicted of illegal mining. Still, we have not won the fight.”

In seeking further assistance from the National House of Chiefs in addressing the galamsey phenomenon, he noted that taking partisan political interests out of the fight against galamsey is one way forward.

“It can only succeed if it is a truly national battle, which no one seeks to exploit for political gain, as we saw in the last election.

Galamsey, Newscenta, House of Chiefs, meeting, Kumasi, Nana Akufo-Addo,

“The progress of our country depends on all of us, all citizens of Ghana, all Fellow Ghanaians, pulling together to defeat this existential threat to our future,” he added.

Reiterating the stance of government, President Akufo-Addo noted that “we are not against mining, but we cannot accept mining in a manner that risks destroying our country. Our nation has always been a mining nation. Indeed, in the 15th century, when the first Europeans, the Portuguese, came to our shores, they called the first European-influenced town, Elmina, meaning ‘the mine’ in Portuguese, because, from their ships as they approached our shores, that is the activity they saw our people engaged in. it is not surprising that, in colonial times, we were called the Gold Coast.”

He, thus, asked all Ghanaians to join hands with him in the fight against illegal mining, in order to bring an end to the devastation of the Ghanaian landscape, and the pollution of our water bodies.

“We have to win that fight to keep our environment clean, and protect our heritage for our descendants, as you did in the past,” he added.

Ogyeahoho Yaw Gyebi, President of the National House of Chiefs, said the House was solidly behind the President in his relentless war against forest degradation and illegal mining.

He said the effects of illegal mining on the environment threatened the survival of water bodies, farmlands and the cocoa industry, which was the mainstay of the economy.

“In view of this development, Nananom are solidly behind your administration to apply appropriate sanctions against persons who are engaged in illegal mining irrespective of their status,” he said.





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