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…Gov’t says no turning back in galamsey fight

Politics

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has assured that the fight against illegal mining, popularly known as “galamsey,” would be sustained.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has assured that the fight against illegal mining, popularly known as “galamsey,” would be sustained.

 

   The President said even though every man needs to provide for the family, the present generation has a duty to preserve the heritage left by the forefathers,  including river bodies and lands, for generations yet unborn.

    According to the President, if illegal mining is allowed to go on, “we are jeopardizing our own future.”

    He gave this assurance while addressing a sensitization workshop on illegal mining for traditional leaders at the Accra International Conference Centre yesterday.

    Showing how serious the situation was, the President said a recent conference attended by the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation in neighbouring Cote D’Ivoire, had authorities in the country complain bitterly to the minister about how their water bodies had been polluted as a result of galamsey activities in Ghana.

    “Rivers that have been with us for centuries are drying up. Forest areas, which we should preserve for the sanctity of our life and environment are being devastated by this phenomenon of galamsey and all kinds of people from all aspects of our national life are involved in this exercise. Security personnel, political leaders, business men and, I dare say it, Nananom, some are all involved in this,” President Nana Akufo-Addo said.

    He reminded the traditional leaders that as leaders who had sworn to protect the integrity of the nation and uphold its sovereignty, the care of the nation, including its people, resources and nature, had been put in their care temporarily.

    President Nana Akufo-Addo added that as trustees of the lands they occupy for their people, they should ask themselves how best they can discharge the trust.

    “Do you sit back and say ‘well, all these young men have nothing to do so let it go on. At least it’s better, for they are earning something than sitting home and causing all kinds of problems,’ when you know the activities they are involved in are jeopardizing the very survival of our nation. I took the decision that, that would be a betrayal of the trust the Ghanaian people put in me on January 7, this year,” the President said.

    He said, as a result, he established a committee within the government to design a policy, not just to stop galamsey or reclaim the lands or make the rivers work again but also “to see how we can figure our way for all these able-bodied young men who are involved in this activity to find alternative livelihood.

    He said he was prepared to put his presidency on the line for this matter, although many tend to disagree with him.

    “This is a choice all of us have to make as human beings. Do you do what you think is right or do you do what you think will allow you to get along? Well, for I think you do what you think is right,” he said.

    He said, fortunately for him, he has great allies in the fight against galamsey, including people from his own government.

    “We cannot win the fight against galamsey without the support of traditional leaders,” the President said, and called on them to get actively involved in the fight.