The Lunatic Fringe Of Chinese Immigrants Must Be Reprimanded-9
Feature Article of Sunday, 20 January 2013
Columnist: Badu, K.
: The plight of The People of Nweneso
Once upon a time, a Ghanaian bought a piece of land on the edge of Nweneso No. 1 village with the aim to search for gold, however, a few residents objected. Then, with the twinkle of an eye, multitudes of Chinese miners moved in with excavators, destroying farmland and denuding the local stream into a trickle of mud.
“The Chinese destroyed our land and our river, they are sitting there with pick-ups and guns, plenty of guns. “ “They wield guns and would fire at anyone who dares to confront them to stop mining.”
“They operate big machines and it makes it very difficult to reclaim the land for farming when they are done, Acting Chief of the village, said.
Ghana is at the crossroads; — it faces an influx of illegal small-scale miners from China who are using heavy-duty machinery, which the indigenes of Nweneso No. 1 say they can’t afford the impact.
Indisputably, the Chinese mining activities are raising concern over environmental damage in Nweneso No. 1. The indigenes say land owners would re-sell their farmland without knowing, and Chinese gold miners would move into camps nearby.
Bizarrely, when the Chinese miners are getting ready to depart to sell their gold in Kumasi, they would fire warning shots to ward off potential highway robbers, a native of Nweneso No. 1, said.
In Nweneso No. 1, two separate groups of Chinese men arrived “led by Ghanaians”, an indigene recounted. They set up wooden barracks on the edge of the village, barred entry with a bamboo pole and used excavators to unearth muddy pits of at least 10 acres (4 hectares) each in what used to be– palm-oil and cocoa plantations.
On the other hand, in Nweneso No. 2, the adjacent village that’s connected by a bumpy, unpaved road, young men used sticks and machetes to chase away a small group of Chinese miners who had shown interest in the area, the Assembly man of the village, revealed.
“We will do everything to protect our land from the Chinese,” an unhappy villager said, preparing to plaster walls and electricity poles with warning notices from the Minerals Commission,– explaining that land is not to be bought or sold without government approval.
We are at the zero hour! We must confront our lawless Chiefs who are colluding with the Chinese illegal miners. Without doubt, there is some collaboration between the Chinese miners and the Chiefs who sell the lands to them. “It is the same Chiefs who seem to be providing them with protection to engage in the illegal mining.”
For example, according to a Chinese social commentator, “the Chinese illegal miners in some instances come into agreement with local chiefs on contributing certain percentage of gold being mined, and in return, the miners would receive local protection each time they face inspection by the officials from Accra.”
Ironically, an over-confident Chinese miner declared: “How can they say we are operating illegally? We have bought the land and have the required permit to mine. Everything we do here is proper and it is not true that we are criminals.”
Nonetheless, when the over-confident Chinese miner was pressed further to show the permits, he retorts: “We are ready to show it to the appropriate authorities.”
Who can blame the Chinese illegal miners’ for the display of impertinent boldness? Considering that they are being shielded by the same people who have been entrusted with the affairs of our rural areas,–stopping the illegal Chinese miners would be ‘a tall order. For, unless the indocile Chiefs are brought to book, the Chinese illegal miners will continue to enjoy ‘the freedom of the affected cities and villages.
K. Badu, UK.