Campaign Coordinator of Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC) Dr. Steve Manteaw has said, ordinary Ghanaians are now the last line of defence against the destruction of land and water bodies through illegal mining.
Dr. Steve Manteaw has railled the public to take up the fight against illegal mining, popularly known as ‘galamsey’ because relevant authorities have not only failed but are themselves parties to the nuisance.
Contributing to a discussion on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show on Monday, he faulted a chain of leaders and power blocs behind galamsey. “It is about the politician, party political leaderships, regulatory agencies and the people within it, police service, the district assembly and chieftaincy, he said.
“Everybody in this country who has the moral responsibility to stem this canker is involved and that for me actually raises the thing to a certain level where it requires ordinary people to act.”
Dr. Steve Manteaw
There is has been a growing anger over the rate at which river bodies like the Pra, Birim, Tano are being destroyed by activities of illegal miners.
These river bodies, which serve as sources of water to some treatment plants in the country have either dried up or become difficult to treat. Many farmlands have also been destroyed by the activities of these illegal miners.
Editor-in-chief of the New Crusading Guide Newspaper, Kweku Baako has already indicated that chiefs, police officials, politicians have been fingered in a documentary on illegal mining being prepared by his team and the details are, as he put it “shocking.”
Managing Director of the Graphic Communications Group Limited, Ken Ashigbey said he is leading the charge is calling for one million signatures to pile pressure on the president to deal with the situation.
“We need to wake up from our slumber”, he said adding that Jesus Christ would have whipped the clergy who are complicit in the fight against the menace just as he stopped trading in the temple.
“In this war against galamsey, you cannot sit on the fence. There is no fence to sit on,” Ashigbey charged.
The Managing Director accused land owners and traditional authorities who are conniving with foreigners to destroy natural resources.
Dr. Manteaw said although it is prudent to name and shame personalities involved in the illegal act, the government must simply enforce the Minerals and Mining Act 703 which criminalises illegal mining.
For him, it is about “challenging the course, challenging the Attorney General to show leadership to prosecute people who are involved. It is not just about arresting a few Chinese and putting them before court.
“We need to get to the bottom, who brought them into this country, who are they working for and let’s get to the big wigs. If one big wig falls and it becomes public knowledge, everyone will fall in line.”
Dr Manteaw disagreed that the solution to the problem is banning small scale mining.
He said, mining, whether small or large has negative effects on the environment, therefore more attention should rather be paid to the illegal ones.