General News of Saturday, 8 July 2017
Journalist Abdul Malik Kweku Baako says the Nsuta mine disaster which claimed 17 lives is further proof that the commitment of some local authorities to the fight against galamsey is lagging.
He said comments by the District Chief Executive of the area that he was unaware that illegal mining was still going on betrays the lack of commitment to the government’s fight against galamsey.
About 22 people were trapped in an illegal mine pit at Nsuta in the Western Region early this week.
Five people escaped, leaving the others who have now been declared dead as rescue efforts have ended.
In the wake of the disaster, the DCE for Prestea-Nsuta, Mr. Mozart K Owuh, said, “We were never aware of galamsey in the area and I am even surprised there was something like though we conducted a search in the area recently.”
“I have instructed my District Police Commander and other security agencies to take up the issue and everything is currently under control,” he stated.
Discussing the issue on Joy FM/MultiTV’s news analysis show, Newsfile, Mr. Kweku Baako asked how the DCE and all the security agencies he listed as coordinating the rescue effort did not know that galamsey operations were going on under their noses.
He said the incident shows that whilst government’s fight against illegal mining which has polluted water bodies and ravaged Ghana’s environment may have achieved some results, the commitment of some local authorities to the fight is questionable.
Executive Director of the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG), Dr Emmanuel Akwetey said some illegal miners may be violating government’s ban on galamsey because the illegal activities were stopped without alternatives for those engaged in the dangerous business.
“The system tends to be reactive than proactive; It does not resolve the issue from a human perspective,” he said.
But more importantly, he said, “There should be some law enforcement” in the fight against illegal mining.
Dr. Akwetey said it is a notorious fact there are financiers of illegal mining and yet they are never arrested and prosecuted to serve as deterrence,
Until that is done, he said there incentive and motivation to go underground and engage in galamsey will remain high.
He said, “those involved in this, flaunting their wealth must be arrested and prosecuted as a way deterring people from financing this illegal business.”