The Paramount Chiefs of Kumbungu, Dalung, and Kasul-yili traditional areas, Na Alhaji Abu Iddrisu II, Dalung-Lana Mahama, and Kasul-Lana Yakubu have respectively expressed their disappointment over the burning of some trucks and other equipment of sand winners in the Northern region by soldiers.
The chiefs are not happy that they were not consulted before the action was taken, even though the sand winning activities are within their respective jurisdictions.
The Paramount Chief of Kumbungu Na Alhaji Abu Iddrisu for instance complained: “I was never consulted by the Minister Salifu Saeed and the Kumbungu District Assembly even when they wanted to relocate the sand winners but I thought as traditional rulers we have a role to play in these issues especially when it was an illegality”.
“They could have engaged me so I would sensitize the truck owners because we will suffer if there’s no water but they never did. I found out by myself about the relocation to Afayili in the Kasulyili traditional area, if REGSEC had consulted me, it wouldn’t have gone this far up to the extent of burning vehicles and even hurting some of them,” he lamented.
The Paramount Chief of Dalung, Dalung-Lana Mahama on whose land the sand winners had operated for six decades said, he strongly believes the Regional Minister and authorities of the Ghana Water Company incited the Operation Vanguard team to burn the trucks on March 3, 2018 without informing the chiefs.
“I didn’t know of this, I see it as a deliberate attempt because the operators had relocated”.
Fourteen tipper trucks, a pay loader, and four motorbikes were burnt by the special task force codenamed Operation Vanguard constituted to combat the activities of illegal mining operators in a bid to preserve water bodies and the environment in Ghana.
The officers according to the drivers of the vehicles arrived at the site in Afayili, 2km away from the former site in Nawuni in the evening of March 3,2018 and set ablaze every tipper truck they sighted.
The development has sparked public outcry in parts of the Northern Region with the Minority in Parliament vehemently condemning the acts.
The Paramount Chief of Kasulyili, Kasul-Lana Alhassan Yakubu, on his part, said the operators had relocated to his traditional area where he had approved after the leadership of the tipper truck owners approached him.
“I gave them that site because they had been stopped from operating close to the White Volta Lake, I enquired from them if they weren’t operating illegal mining and I also followed up to the site to witness for myself the activities that goes on there, I was surprised to hear their trucks have been burnt without anybody consulting me.
“If REGSEC didn’t want them there, they could have told us, they are our subjects and we could stop them but to ignore us and burn trucks, I urge the government to address this development by saying something that will calm tempers,” the Chief added.
Meanwhile, the minority caucus in parliament said it has accepted the challenge thrown to the affected persons by the Defence Minister to seek redress in court and would ensure that “the affected persons are adequately compensated”.
By Zubaida Ismail | 3news.com