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Chiefs, local officials complicit in galamsey directly or indirectly

The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources Samuel A. Jinapor, has cautioned against politicisation of the fight against illegal mining (galamsey) and natural resources mismanagement.

“We cannot come to grips with these issues if they continue to be politicized and exploited by political parties for their personal gains.

“It cannot be right in the face of all of these challenges for opposition party leaders to say, if you vote us into power, we will release all jailed illegal miners and allow you to mine.”

“Likewise it cannot be right if ruling party leaders put their political or economic fortunes ahead of this fight.

“This fight must be above partisan politics. It must be a national fight and it requires our collective efforts to win this noble struggle of ours.

Jinapor, noted that the sustainable management of natural resources of the country requires the collective action of all, including members of the communities where these resources are located.

He said Government’s efforts to manage these resources for the benefit of current and future generations may come to naught, if citizens do not support these actions.

The Minister was speaking at the 40th anniversary celebration of the Faculty of Renewable Natural Resources of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, in Kumasi  on the theme “40 Years of Training Natural Resources Managers: A New Age for a New Beginning.”

Jinapor said natural resources are so crucial to the very survival of Ghanaians, and must be sustainably managed to ensure optimal benefit for current and future generations.

He bemoaned the wanton destruction of the environment by illegal miners and illegal loggers, which is negatively impacting the forest and water resources, wildlife, aquatic and marine life, among others.

He said Government has put in place several measures to ensure the protection and sustainable management of these resources, including the ban on the harvesting of Rosewood, the ban on exploratory activities in Forest Reserves, the use of speed boats to patrol water bodies, the introduction of mercury-free Gold Katchas, and the establishment of Small Scale Mining Committees in all mining districts in the country.

Mr. Jinapor, however, said these measures will not yield the desired results if people at the local level continue to connive with others to pollute water bodies and destroy the environment.

He queried how people could mine in forest reserves or illegally fell trees on the blind side of all the local actors in the community, including the chiefs, assembly members, unit committee members, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives, the district security apparatus and opinion leaders.

“I can say without a shred of equivocation no one can bring a chain saw to harvest rosewood in the forest or an excavator to mine in the bush, to work on river bodies in the community without the knowledge or passive approval somehow of the chief, elders, the assemblymen, opinion leaders and local authorities in the community.”

“It is either we are fighting galamsey or we are not. And if we are, it requires a collective action from all of us, not just the President or his Ministers, but more importantly traditional, local and political authorities at all levels, as well as residents of these communities,” the Minister said.

He tasked the Faculty to develop programmes that respond to the local challenges and provide strategic and managerial insights into conversations and debates about natural resource management.

He also tasked them to take a lead role in educating, sensitising and re-orienting Ghanaians about the importance of natural resources and the need to preserve them.





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