Amewu seeks Finance Ministry clearance to deploy more forest guards in galamsey fight

The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, John-Peter Amewu, is seeking clearance from the Ministry of Finance to employ 400 personnel for the Forestry Commission and other agencies under his ministry for effectiveness in the fight against galamsey. This has become necessary following inadequate personnel especially forest guards to protect forest reserves against galamseyers. He made the comments over the weekend, when he visited the Tano-Offin Forest in Nkawie in the Ashanti Region. Mr Amewu together with his two deputies and agencies under the Ministry stormed the forest reserve, which forms part of the Nkawie Forest District. They were led by the rapid response team of the Forestry Commission. Galamseyers have already started mining in the forest destroying about 12 hectares of land. At Kyekyewere, the team visited one of the sites where mining equipment have been demobilized, following the Commission’s intervention after driving the miners out. The Nkawie Forest District Manager, Nana Poku Bosompem, regretted the challenges in terms of staff strength. He said the current numerical strength of forest guards stands at eight instead of the 15 required. Mr Amewu intimated plans to seek clearance from the Finance Ministry to employ additional staff to take care of the shortfall. ‘Koli, koli’ The team later visited Amadaa, a community in the Atwima Mponua District, which fall within the Tano Offin Forest Reserve. The devastating effect of galamsey activities in the area was visible as miners had mined into the Offin River. Deep pits have been left uncovered. Four persons were arrested at the site engaged in what the locals referred to as ‘koli koli’ which they do after the miners had extracted the minerals. The four, two of whom are from the north and one from Burkina Faso, claimed they were not aware their activities were also considered illegal.

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By Catherine Frimpongmaa||Nkawie, A/R, Ghana ]]>