Beppo Chiefs, Residents Vow To Fight Galamsey
The chiefs and people of Beppo, a mining community in the Prestea Huni Valley Municipality of the Western Region, have vowed to wage war against illegal mining, otherwise called ‘galamsey,’ following afruitful engagement with the Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, George Mireku Duker.
The assurance, which was conveyed by the Tufuhene, Nana Bretuo II, follows a dispassionate appeal by the deputy minister to them to get involved and collaborate with government in the ongoing fight against the menace.
At a stakeholders’sensitization engagement against illegal mining yesterday, Mr. Duker evoked the sense of communism and nationalism in the traditional authorities and residents against galamsey.
Making reference to the destruction caused to many river bodies in the community, as a result of galamsey operations, the deputy ministersaid the larger community must not bear the brunt of the greedy few and thuschallenged the residents to rise up against the menace.
“Because of greed, we are destroying our country and our future. It’s a shame. It’s a shame that some of our chiefs have sat aloof for our river here to get destroyed. It’s sad and shameful. Because of gold, we are destroying the river that feeds into the Ankobra. We must all be responsible,” he said.
He sensitized them on the harmful effects of galamsey and appealed them to declare zero tolerance for illegal mining in the area.
He explained to the community that, the 1992 constitution has empowered every citizen to arrest all persons whose actions are detrimental to the community and the country at large, and therefore, the time has come for the community to arrest illegal miners whose actions are causing irreparable damage to the environment.
“If our chiefs and the general public agree to resist any form of illegal mining, there is no way anyone can do it. Our constitution permits citizen arrests. You don’t have to be a police officer to arrest someone who is doing something harmful to the country. We all have to come together and agree that irresponsible small-scale mining must stop now. Let’s all do this for our community and the country,” he stated.
Mr.Duker, who doubles as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Tarkwa Nsuaem, has,therefore,charged on the residents to take action, while pleading with them to ensure an immediate end to all forms of illegal mining activities.
He also clarified that, the Akufo-Addo government is not against small-scale mining, but wants to purge the sector of harmful practices in view of the employment opportunities it provides to Ghanaians.
According to him, government has a number of alternative livelihood sources available to persons who opt out of illegal mining.
“Large-scale mining companies in Ghana employ about 30,000 people but small-scale employ about one million Ghanaians, so I’m completely against banning small-scale mining. My government is also against banning small-scale mining. What is important is that we mine responsibly and protect it so that it helps us and does not kill us.
The Chief Inspector of Mines at the Minerals Commission, Mr. Kofi Adjei, educated the public on the dire consequences of illegal mining. He highlighted the health, economic and social impacts galamsey poses to the country and preached against it.
The Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) of the area, Isaac Dasmani, commended the chiefs and residents for welcoming the appeal by the deputy minister and the government and charged them to practise what he said.