President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo sought to assure the entire nation that the all the forest reserves in the country are being protected against illegal mining activities (Galamsey) with his comment that Akonta Mining is not engaged in galamsey, Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor has said.
President Akufo-Addo has exonerated Akonta Mining Company Limited from any wrongdoing, stressing that the Company is not involved in any illegal mining anywhere in Ghana.
In a remark after concerns about the menace came to the fore at the 28th National and 16th Biennial Congress of the National Union of Ghana Catholic Diocesan Priests Association held in Koforidua, he said “Let me respond briefly to the chairperson on the issue of illegal mining.
“I want to assure him and all of you that Akonta Mining is not engaged in any illegal mining anywhere in Ghana as we speak.
“Further, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources has through the agency of the Forestry Commission with the assistance of the military made the effort to cordon off all 294 sites of forest reserves in the country and rid them of illegal mining as we speak.”
President Akufo-Addo was responding to a concern expressed by the chairperson of the occasion, Ing. Ken Ashigbey, regarding Akonta Mining Company Limited’s supposed infraction of the laws to mine in the Tano Nimiri Forest Reserve in the Western North Region.
Despite having a mining lease, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources in October, 2022 stopped Akonta Mining Company Limited, owned by New Patriotic Party’s Ashanti Region Chairman Bernard Antwi-Boasiako, from mining in the forest reserve.
The issue is under investigation by the Special Prosecutor.
President Akufo-Addo reiterated his government’s commitment to “win the fight against galamsey no matter the cost in effort”.
Reacting to concerns that the President may be shielding the company, Mr Jinapor told journalists in Accra that “First of all, I think it is absolutely important that we appreciate that the President was responding to a request by the Chairman of this Public Diocesan Priest Association Biennial conference Mr Ken Ashigbey. Mr Ashiebey in his remarks had appealed to the President to speak to the issue of Akonta Mining, and so, the President sought to respond and assure the conference and for that matter the country. So the President’s comments were actually an assurance to the conference and the country. What was that assurance?
“The president said, as he spoke, Akonta Mining was not engaged in any illegal mining activities in any forest reserve and indeed, the President went further to assure the country that under his instruction, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and the Forestry Commission has actually cordoned off the 294 forest reserves in our country, he said that as well but for some reason, that has been taken out of the discourse.
“But the president gave further assurance that not only is Akonta Mining not engaged in illegal mining activities in any forest reserve as he spoke, but additionally, he had put in place measures to protect the 294 forest reserves in our country from attacks from illegal miners. So the President was not speaking about the wrong doing or otherwise of Akonta Mining in the past, the criminality of Akonta Mining or otherwise in the past, he was not commenting on what happened in the past, he was giving an assurance of the state of affairs as at the time he was addressing the conference, that is a statement of fact.
“For me, I think the President should be commended , the government should be commended that we have got to a situation where we can confidently say we are protecting ting the Forest reserve of our country, that is essentially what the President said.”
Asked whether the President has been taken out of context, Mr Jinapor answered ” I am not too sure about ‘he is been taken out of context or not’ because it is really plain, what he said , there is no ambiguity, it will only take, with the greatest of respects, mischievous persons to pretend that there is some ambiguity in what the President said. The president was giving an assurance following some anxieties that have been expressed by one of the speakers at the conference.”
By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana