Galamsey: Surprisingly very little has been heard from Okyenhene – Bawah Mogtari

The Okyenhene in a handshake with President Akufo-Addo at recent meeting with the National House of Chiefs on Galamsey

Joyce Bawah Mogtari a Special aide to former President John Dramani Mahama has expressed surprise that the Okyenhene Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin II, has not been vocal on the impacts of galamsey on the environment and water bodies in a manner he did in the period leading to the year 2017.

Madam Bawah Mogtari indicated in the Eastern Region, home region of the President, the destruction of environment and the water bodies by galamsey is visible yet not too much has been heard by the revered traditional ruler lately.

Speaking on the New Day show with Berla Mundi on TV3 in relation to the meeting President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo held with the National House of Chiefs in Kumasi on Wednesday October 5, the former Deputy Transport Minister said “In the Eastern region, we have seen [impact of galamsey] as you drive through near the Birim river for example, it is right across the road, it is visible to every user of that road and so there can be no doubt in the president’s own backyard, it is happening.

“Indeed, what actually is more astonishing beyond the lies and the charade we are currently experiencing is the fact that that the Okyehene who was actually our very first campaigner [on] matters to do with climate change and to the environment in the years to 2017, the most destruction we see are destruction to the Birim river and the environment in the catchment area, surprisingly very little or nothing has been heard from the quarters.”

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President Akufo-Addo during the meeting admitted that the fight against Galamsey has not been an easy one.

He said he has not achieved the results he was looking for in the fight but the government is determined to win the battle against the menace.

“Since I took office I have made it a central feature of my presidency to lead in the efforts to rid our country of this menace which we all now call galamsey. It has not been popular and we have not got the result that I was looking for,” Mr Akufo-Addo said during a meeting with the National House of Chiefs and the Municipal, Metropolitan and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) in Kumasi on Wednesday October 5.

He further told the National House of Chiefs that the task to protect the lands and the environment from the effect of Galamsey is a joint responsibility between the government and the traditional authorities.

Mr Akufo-Addo explained that 80 per cent of the lands in Ghana  are in the custody of the chiefs.

This means they have a role to play in protecting the resource, he said.

He said “80 per cent of the lands in this country continue to be under your custody, much of it having been acquired through the blood and sacrifices of your ancestors. The reminder of 20 per cent which I hold in trust of the people of Ghana, derived from state acquisition  from you. What this means is that ultimately, the welfare of the state of the lands is our  joint responsibility, although by statute the minerals in the soil belong to the president in trust for the people.”

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The chiefs on their part assured Mr Akufo-Addo that they are solidly behind his administration to apply appropriate measures against all persons involved in Galamsey in the country.

President of the National House of Chiefs, Ogyeahohoo Yaw Gyeb indicated that galamsey is having a negative effect on the environment and also threatens revenue mobilsation in the country hence, their resolve to support the President and government in fighting it.

He said “your relentless war against forest degradation and illegal mining in Ghana is of great importance to Ghanaians especially we the chiefs.

“The effects of illegal mining on the environment threaten the survival of water bodies , farmlands, cocoa industry and even encouraging school dropouts, this undermins the revenue mobilsation drive in the country.

“In view of this development [the Chiefs] are solidly behind your administration to apply the appropriate sanctions against persons who are engaged in the practice illegal mining irrespective of their status.”

By Laud Nartey||Ghana