…Says galamsey is price Ghana pays for corruption
By Ernest KISSIEDU
The Omanhen of Essikado Traditional Area, Nana Kobina Nketsia V, has warned that the fight against illegal mining will only be successful when there is honesty and no corruption in the country.
According to him, there is a lot of dishonesty and corruption in the society, especially with regard to the mining industry.
“What we’re seeing is as a result of reaping the rewards of corruption as a country. And we cannot afford to go to sleep or stop this campaign against illegal mining. We’re paying a heavy price for what is happening in the mining industry,” he said.
In an interview with Business Day Ghana at a stakeholders’ forum organized by the Wacam in Accra, Nana Kobina Nketsia V disclosed that there are strong political powers behind the illegal mining activities Ghana is faced with.
“Some people somewhere are responsible for victimizing the system with illegal mining. And those involved in these illegal mining are victims of a dishonest system and it is the victimizers that must be held responsible and not just the boys who are involved in the illegal mining. They are just victims working under serious political influences,” the Omanhen lamented.
Nana Kobina Nketsia V added that the nation’s future is being sacrificed for mining activities.
“Those yet unborn will never forgive us if we continue to destroy our environment with all the natural resources we have just because of irresponsible or illegal mining.”
“God has already blessed us as a nation but we are destroying these blessings with illegal or irresponsible mining. What are we leaving behind for those coming after us?” the Omahen asked.
He therefore called for attitudinal change in the manner in which mining activities are conducted in various communities.
Meanwhile, Prof. Patrick Agbesiyale has hinted there is some evidence that people who handled mercury carelessly end up being affected with kidney problems.
“Mercury is a very dangerous chemical which has been linked to many kidney cases among young people in the mining industry. Kidney cases have been on the rise at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital. The cases recorded in 2010 were 206 as against 1,937 cases in 2011,” Prof. Patrick Agbesiyale expressed.
On his part, a private legal practitioner, Mr. John Opoku noted both big and small companies in Ghana are all engaged in mining activities that destroy various water bodies in communities.
Furthermore, executive director of Center for Public Interest Law (CEPIL), Mr. Augustine Niber observed that the lack of enforcement of laws has ensured indiscipline in the mining sector.
For him, greed and shameless desire for money are destroying the nation’s lands, natural resources and water bodies.
“Although small-scale mining is supposed to be the preserve for Ghanaian citizens, it has rather been an area where foreign nationals now thrive and indulge in mining activities. The state has been complacent and what we need is a holistic approach to stop illegal mining through comprehensive reforms in the laws and regulations in the sector,” Mr. Augustine Niber argued.
A representative from the Association for Small-Scale Miners, Nii Adjetey, appealed to the government to reconsider its decision to halt mining activities for the next 6months.
“The six months’ halt of work isn’t a good thing at all. There’s a war on illegal mining but the targeting is wrong because there are differences between us, the legal small-scale miners and those involved in galamsey. Government must differentiate between the two,” he opined.