General News of Tuesday, 11 July 2017
President Akufo-Addo was almost moved to tears yesterday when he addressed the dreaded illegal mining [galamsey] menace.
This time round, his concern was not just about the effect of galamsey on Ghana, but the fact that it has spread to far away neighbouring Ivory Coast, making the authorities express serious concerns.
He related how the Minister for Environment, Science and Technology, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, was embarrassed over the issue when he attended a meeting in Abidjan recently.
In spite of the war his government is waging against the canker, he indicated, “Professor Frimpong-Boateng goes to a conference in Abidjan and there the Ivorian leaders tell him, ‘You people are not helping us; this illegal mining that is taking place in Ghana is beginning to affect us, our water bodies and our space in Cote d’ Ivoire.’”
The president noted, “He” [referring to Frimpong-Boateng] “was very embarrassed, very apologetic that the activities of Ghanaians are jeopardizing the space of a neighbouring country; that’s how serious the matter is.”
President Akufo-Addo underscored, “Rivers that have been with us for centuries are drying up; forest areas which we should preserve for our life and our environment being devastated by this phenomenon of galamsey; and all kinds of people in all aspects of our national lives are involved in this exercise – security personnel, political leaders, businessmen. I dare say it, Nananom, some are all involved in this.”
He could not but pledge an unwavering resolve to do what it takes – even if that would cost him his presidency – to end the galamsey menace.
Nana Addo made the remarks during a two-day workshop put together by the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs for traditional rulers in the country to court their support for the fight against galamsey.
“We cannot win this fight without the support of the traditional authorities of our country,” President Akufo-Addo told the traditional rulers.
According to him, “Any serious social mobilization of Ghana since time immemorial, if you are not involved, it doesn’t happen; so the reason why you’ve been brought here today is for us to have the opportunity to share with you our thoughts, our strategy, our thinking and then to ask of you in the name of generations unborn, for your support and active involvement to bring this menace of galamsey to an end.
“So the Ghanaian people are counting on you; they are counting on you to put your shoulders to the wheel.” He insisted, “There are things that we just cannot allow to happen and one of them is the heritage, the inheritance that our fathers, our grandfathers, our great grandfathers bequeathed to us, especially the space, the Ghanaian space, which we all occupy.”
Aside that, he noted, “We have a duty to preserve it for those who are coming after us and if our river bodies are drying up, our landscape is being desecrated, we here, leaders of our society, leaders of our nation, political leaders, traditional rulers, religious leaders; we have a responsibility to say no, this we can’t allow to go on for our own common survival and the survival of those yet to come; if we allow it, we are jeopardizing our own future.”