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The overlord of Asanteman, Otumfuo Osei-Tutu II has slammed the lukewarm attitude of Ghanaians towards the fight against illegal mining, insisting that both private and public officials are to blame for the destruction that the forests and water bodies have suffered due to that illegal activity.

According to him, instead of stemming the worrying trend of destruction in our arable lands and water bodies people in authority showed no sign of concern.

Some chiefs, Otumfuo noted had been part of illegal mining since they have continually leased out lands to groups and companies known for engaging in illegal mining.

Speaking at the Manhyia Palace when officials of the Operation Vanguard, the anti-galamsey task-force paid a courtesy call on him, Otumfuo commended the team for its effort but urged them to stand their grounds in the fight they have started to rid the country of further destruction to water bodies and vegetation.

The Asantehene also urged government to sustain the fight on illegal mining and advised that they work to find job opportunities for the youth so as to lure them from the illegal activity.

PUBLIC OFFICIALS:

Taking a swipe at some of the country’s public officials, Otumfuo wondered why officers at the Minerals Commission as well as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continued to give certification to persons they knew are engaged in illegal mining rather than the small scale mining they claimed the license for.

Otumfuo noted that no proper monitoring had also been done by these regulatory agencies to check on these miners to ascertain the kind of mining they were doing with the licenses they had acquired.

Some of the small scale mining companies, Otumfuo disclosed had been allowed to mine anyhow due to the lack of monitoring by these state agents.

The Asantehene therefore charged the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources to take a critical look at the persons manning these agencies to rid it of corrupt officials whose activities had led to the wanton destruction of the country’s forest.

Colonel William Agyepong, leader of the operation vanguard team against galamsey speaking to the media

RESPONSE:

Speaking to the media after the visit, Colonel William Agyepong said the task-force was resolved to work with utmost professionalism.

According to him, the team is guided by the mandate given to it by the State and the President, adding no one in the team will be allowed to do anything contrary to the law.

However, he warned persons who were still mining illegally at various sites in the country to desist from doing any further damage since the team will arrest and deal with those the meet on site.

He called for support from the public to enable them stop and arrest illegal miners found to be still perpetrating this form of injustice to water bodies and vegetation.

Story by Michael Ofosu-Afriyie, Kumasi

2017-09-09 @16:05:43

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