General News of Wednesday, 27 September 2017
The Northern regional minister, Mr. Salifu Saeed, has threatened to unleash security forces on some Chinese nationals and their local miners operating underground activities on an isolated land at Pegu in the Savelugu/Nanton municipality after tensions between two chiefs in the area reached a knife edge.
The minister’s warning followed a latent hostility between the chief of Diyali and his counterpart in the host community over the land these Chinese nationals under a local firm were putting up complex structures and engaging in an open excavation with heavy duty installations.
Starr News sources said the chief of Pegu, Nantogmah Yakubu, unilaterally issued the land to the Chinese miners without consultations or arrangement with relevant government institutions in the region responsible for issuing mining license and even after the Regent of Dagbon declined to grant them access.
The Diyali chief who has superior authority in the area tried to stop the miners who claimed they were quarrying for limestone and that triggered raw tensions between the two traditional authorities which nearly boiled over until the minister’s intervention. Starr News has sighted letters where the two chiefs exchanged aggressive rhetoric and sworn to protect their territories from any exploitation.
Following an advice of the municipal Security Council, the regional minister paid an unannounced visit to the disputed land and in testy tone ordered the Chinese to immediately suspend operations and produce their traveling documents.
The minister told the Chinese that henceforth their activities were under security surveillance and warned of a violent clampdown if they choose not to abide by the order.
The minister demanded the Chinese miners to clearly state their motive for invading the area and said they would be jailed if they refuse to cooperate with regional authorities.
“As we have come here, we are going to put 24hr security surveillance on your work here. Don’t do any work; if you venture to do any work the security people would come and scatter your things and you will be arrested and locked up,” the Chinese miners listened with pathetically insincere grimaces as one used his mobile phone to translate the minister’s turbulent caution.
As the chairman of the regional Security Council, the minister also decided to probe into how the Chinese foreigners entered into the country and asked for their personal and immigration details, and documents authorizing to carry out the activities in the area.
“Tomorrow come to my office in Tamale – bring your passports that shows that you have visas to enter into Ghana at the same time the period you are required to stay in the country. Again, we want to know whether you have the requisite documents giving you permit to work here; when you are coming, bring your documents that defines clearly the kind of work you’re doing here,”Mr. Salifu ordered the miners.
Mr. Saeed said government would support and protect legitimate private entities in the country but will not allow any operation that would put the lives of its citizens at risk. He strongly reiterated government firm commitment at fighting illegal activities in the country.
“We will not allow anybody including Ghanaian citizens to engage in Galamsey in this country, not to talk of external people to invade the country and do illegal activities, so let’s exercise patience and allow them to bring their documents.”