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Honouring our rivers to prick consciences against water pollution



Rivers, galamsey, Newscenta, Prof Kwesi Yankah, illegal mining, pollution,

Ghana is a nation of dreamers no doubt, but our collective imagination occasionally slips and betrays a nation without dreams.

I refer to slippages in the naming of important entities in our motherland.

We have been occasionally absent-minded in the naming processes, omitting great people who impacted the nation and localities; other times we have named important things after trifles.

It makes you wonder what really goes into street naming for example.

A friend once guessed that the nation sometimes runs out of names, compelling us to give street names like ‘Kokonte Street’ in one part of Accra, where incidentally you may comb the entire neighborhood for a kokonte restaurant only to be disappointed, there is nowhere to face the wall.


Other times you may find Osibisa’s Mac Tonto being compelled to name a street at his corner, ‘Osibisa Close,’ at the Airport Residential area when authorities were not watching.

The nation had forgotten the great pan African Band and ignored to extend honors due them. The great trumpeter Mac Tonto then helped himself in self-adoration.

But the naming process is occasionally logical even if trivial. Years ago while driving around Legon, I explored parts of the Kissema market looking for a quick exit to Legon, and found a curious lane where the dreadful hot alcoholic stuff, was for sale in tots.

I regretted using that route, for I could have been mistaken for a frequent client myself.

I raised my head to check the name of the busy place. It was called ‘Borla Spot.’ Why the name? It was located at the foot of a huge refuse dump, Borla.


So if you were looking for the hot stuff, there was no need looking for the blue kiosk, and turning right.

If using a google map, just look for the nearest refuse dump, it doubled as a drinking spot.

But I have sometimes complained when I realize that our minds somehow strayed when we were naming administrative regions of the country.

That is why I had problems with time-honored labels like Central region, Western region, Northern region, Upper East, Upper West, etc. My adrenalin inched further up when Ghana created new regions a few years ago.

Our  names for the new regions gave me occasional ear aches raising questions about ‘who at all is this old man giving meaningless  names to regions in Ghana?’


Whereas we already had a ‘northwestern’ part of Ghana, here comes the old man saying, let’s call one of the new regions ‘Western North.’

Does western north mean the western part of the Northern Region, or the northern part of the Western Region?

And by the way, let’s go back to square one. Why ‘Central region,’ when the entire region so-called is far from the central part of Ghana? Is the most central part of Ghana, not  Ashanti?

Let’s ask Sri on Google; or the GPR, the computer all-knowing grandma who gives road directions, and sometimes misleads you to drive into a Galamsey pit.

Then also Upper East, Upper West, Bono East, etc; who are these people?


Come with me to Nigeria, and ask for the names of the federal states: Oyo, Osun, Ogun, Cross River, Benue, Anambra, Enugu, Delta, Anambra, and Imo. This is Nigeria.

In Ghana here, let me doff my hat to the regional labels, Volta, Oti, Bono, Ashanti, Savanna, regions, etc.

I would salute them, and thereafter dump all the directional road signs masquerading as regions of Ghana: East, West, Upper West, Northern, etc., regions.

Please join me to dump these regional names in the Atlantic ‘Borla Spot.’ Those names are flat impositions; uninformative, and even hostile, telling us we are still colonies serving a Governor who, pipe in mouth, resides lazily in Cape Coast.

The signs tell you northern and upper regions are too far away from the governor, so don’t venture there. Enjoy yourself in Central and Western.


The veteran broadcaster, Mike Eghan from Sekondi made it easier when in the 70s, he boasted that the ‘Best Comes from the West,’ unknowingly implying that the western world was the place to go since the ‘baddest’ comes from Africa.

There are permanent features in our own history and ecosystem that are meaningful reference points we have missed.

Let’s name River Birim after the Eastern region. Call it the Birim region; the river stretches through most parts of that region, and has sustained the people for generations.

The Birim river unites that region in a sense. Western region is meaningless to Nkroful people; call it the Ankobra region. I would like to hear that the Best Comes from the Ankobra (not the West).

Regions like Densu region, Pra region, Ayensu Region, Tano region, are home-made, and instill a sense of awe in nature.


These denote unique environmental features that have promoted personhood and  mutual respect between man and nature.

By so naming, we shall honor our great and charitable rivers in the environment, and extend apologies to them for our sins of omission and damage.

It may not be too late, folks; but who knows?  We may also prick consciences and allow vindictive rivers, to pull the ears of Galamsey villains. In other words ‘pull their ears small.’

By Prof. Kwesi Yankah




 Anti-galamsey fight making Ankobra River clean 



Ankobra River, Newscenta, rivers, anti-galamsey fight,

The Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources responsible for Mines, George Mireku Duker has noted that the return of the Ankobra River and other water bodies to their pure status is a reflection of the strides made by government’s fight against illegal mining.

According to him, the progress made in the turbidity level of the waterbodies is indicative of the fact that the anti-galamsey fight is yielding results.

Speaking after the tour of the Ankobra River which is fast regaining its authentic and clean status on Thursday, 16th February 2023 , Mireku Duker commended the various stakeholders for their respective roles in the fight against illegal mining.

While commending the various agencies and Ghanaians for their efforts,  Mireku Duker maintained that government will not take its foot  off pedal and will press on with the measures that have resulted in the gains made so far.

He noted that the training of river wardens to compliment the Operation Halt II taskforce is another laudable initiative by government that has contributed significantly to the liberation of water bodies from galamsey operations.


He urged all individuals especially Chiefs, MMDCEs and the general public to join forces with government in its bid to protect the water bodies.

He reiterated government’s aversion on the ban of small-scale mining and expressed that government through the Community Mining Scheme and other innovations will transform the small-scale mining sector.

“We should take full responsibility of protecting Ghana’s river bodies.  We have roles to play including MMDCEs and we must all commit to protecting our water bodies.

“There are suggestions for government to close down small-scale mining activities but we are aware of the number of job opportunities created in the small-scale mining sector.

The DCE for Ellembelle District, Kwasi Bonzo said the people of Ellembelle will not sit down aloof and watch others destroy their livelihoods.


Dorcas Amoah, DCE for Nzema East commended the government for the Community Mining scheme in the area, revealing that many lives have been impacted positively by the innovative mining scheme

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Atewa Forest: Forestry Commission destroys galamsey equipment



Atewa forest, Newscenta, galamsey, demobilised, Forestry Commission,

The Forestry Commission has demobilized equipment being used for illegal mining in the Atewa Forest in the Eastern Region.

The demobilization was carried out at a mining site outside the Forest Reserve which has affected 0.6 hectares of the reserve.

A statement issued by the Commission said no one was found at the site where the illegal mining was taking place.
The Commission said it is working with Operation Halt II to ensure that no illegal mining activity takes place in the Forest Reserve.

It assured that the necessary steps are taken to reclaim portions of the Forest Reserve affected by the illegal activity.

The Commission said it has reported the incident to the Kyebi District Police Station and will work with them and other agencies to smoke out the perpetrators and deal with them.


It assured the public of continuous commitment to work with all stakeholders to protect all Forest Reserves in the country

It will be recalled that eleven persons who were involved in illegal mining in the Atewa Forest were given prison sentences of between five and 15 years.

Koforidua Circuit Court B sentenced them after they were found guilty of engaging in the dig and wash model of illegal mining in the Atewa Forest Reserve, contrary to the
country’s mining laws which bar mining in forest reserves.

The 11 convicts are among 55 persons who were arrested by officials of the Forestry Commission in 16 different operations in the Atewa Forest between January and April 2022.

A document detailing the progress report on the cases revealed that the 44 people were on remand at the time.


Three of the convicts – Alhassan Lariba, Foster Boakye and Kwaku Ampofo, who were arrested at the Pameng portion of the Atewa Forest, were sentenced to 3,000 penalty units, amounting to GH¢36,000 in addition to five years’ imprisonment.

In another case, George Asare and Godwin Ahadzi, who were arrested at the Asiakwa portion of the Atewa Forest, were fined 10,000 penalty units, amounting to GH¢120,000 or they would spend 15 years in prison.

Again, Isaac Kofi and Yaw Boadi, who were arrested in the Obourho portion of the forest, were fined 10,000 penalty units of GH¢120,000 in addition to 15 years’ imprisonment with hard labour.

Three other illegal miners – Bismark Dompreh, Kwasi Samuel and Kwadwo Baah – were handed 15 years sentence and a fine of GH¢1,000 each.

The illegal miners were arrested at various locations in the Atewa Forest, including Sagyimase, Pameng, Asiakwa, Ahwenease, Juaso, Obourho, Potroase and Apenaman,






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Akonta Mining controversy: Jinapor’s 16 points reply to Mahama



Akonta Mining, Newscenta, Samuel Jinapor, John Mahama, controversy, reply,

Dear President Mahama,

I have read, Sir, with utmost dismay, your Facebook post regarding the comments made by the President of the Republic, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, in Eastern Region, when he addressed the 28th National and 16th Biennial Congress of the National Union of Catholic Diocesan Priests’ Association (NUCDPA).

Ordinarily, I would have no need to respond to matters you post on your Facebook page. But, due to the gross misinformation and political spin contained in the said post, as well as the attempt to disparage my integrity and that of the President in respect of this matter, as Minister responsible for Lands and Natural Resources, I deem it necessary to set the records straight.

My response will, therefore, focus on the facts, and I will endeavour not to respond to the political spins contained in the said post. The unimpeachable facts relating to this matter are as follows:

  1. Sometime last year, there were allegations levelled against Akonta Mining Ltd that it was engaging in some mining activities in the Tano Nimiri Forest Reserve;
  2. Although the company had applied for a mining lease over a portion of the Forest Reserve, the application had not yet been determined. I, therefore, directed the Forestry Commission to investigate the matter, and ensure that the Company does not carry out mining activities in the Forest;
  3. The Forestry Commission moved in quickly and cleared the forest of all alleged illegal activities;
  4. President Akufo-Addo had been invited as a Special Guest of Honour at the NUCDPA Congress, where he spoke about strengthening State-Church collaboration;
  5. At the said Congress, a specific question was asked by the Chairman of the occasion regarding illegal mining activities by Akonta Mining;
  6. The President in response stated categorically that “Akonta Mining is not engaged in any illegal mining anywhere in Ghana AS WE SPEAK”;
  7. The President was speaking about the state of affairs at the time he made the comment, and went ahead to add that Government, through the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and the Forestry Commission had, with the assistance of the military, cordoned off all Forest Reserves in the country, and rid them of illegal mining activities at the time he was speaking, and that Government was working to ensure that the situation remains permanent;
  8. The comments by the President in no way relates to past or future activities of Akonta Mining, and cannot, by any shred of imagination, be deemed as exonerating the company from any past activities or interfering with any ongoing investigations;
  9. As it is public knowledge, the allegations of illegal mining by Akonta Mining Ltd are being investigated by state institutions responsible for such investigations, the Ghana Police Service and the Office of the Special Prosecutor;
  10. When I received the report from the investigations conducted by the Forestry Commission, pursuant to my directive, I forwarded the report to the Ghana Police Service, through the Minister for Interior, to assist them in their investigations;
  11. The Criminal Investigations Division (CID) of the Police Service has subsequently written to me requesting some further information, which I have provided;
  12. The Office of the Special Prosecutor, in its Half Yearly Report dated 31st December, 2022, also states that the Office is currently investigating activities of Akonta Mining and other companies in respect of the said allegations;
  13. Officials of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources are collaborating with these state institutions to conduct their investigations and take the necessary actions;
  14. The President, mindful of these ongoing investigations, refrained from speaking on past activities of the company which are under investigations by the state agencies. Indeed, but for the specific question posed by the Chairman of the occasion, the President would not have mentioned Akonta Mining at all;
  15. I, also, want to put on record that no one, and absolutely no one, compelled me to issue the Press Statement on Akonta Mining which was issued following the allegations of their activities in the Forest Reserve. Neither has the President called any official of Akonta Mining to “appease” them on the action taken by Government. These claims, if they were indeed made, as you suggest, are, obviously, false and a figment of peoples’ own imagination; and
  16. As reiterated by President Akufo-Addo at the Congress where he spoke, “Government is determined to win the fight against galamsey, no matter the cost and effort.” Under his distinguished and outstanding leadership, we are committed to doing this with the highest standards of transparency, integrity and utmost good faith in the public interest.

Sir, whilst I have the opportunity, permit me to assert, without a shred of equivocation that the record of President Akufo-Addo’s Government in the past six years of fighting corruption far surpasses the NDC’s eight-year record.

Needless to point out that President Akufo-Addo’s extraordinary funding of anti-corruption institutions, the establishment of the Office of the Special Prosecutor, which as I speak, is investigating this matter, the passage of the Right to Information Act, 2019 (Act 989), rapid investigations of allegations of corruption, and many more are testament to his remarkable record in the fight against corruption.


I have reluctantly come out to set these records straight due to the very unfair and unfortunate manner in which you have attacked the unblemished reputation and integrity of the President of the Republic, your successor.

Good Day Sir,

Samuel A. Jinapor, MP

Minister for Lands and Natural Resources




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