General News of Sunday, 18 March 2018
Energy expert, Kwadwo Poku is in agreement with First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joseph Osei Owusu urging soldiers to shoot and kill persons involved in illegal mining known as galamsey, when caught in the act.
Though the call by the First Deputy Speaker has received substantial flak, Kwadwo Poku believes since some illegal miners have the intent to kill security personnel tasked to root out their operations, it would not be out of place if the military cum police force take desperate step to rather kill recalcitrant miners.
“We know that [the illegal miners] will kill so what is wrong if [the soldiers] kill,” he wondered on Saturday’s edition of TV3’s New Day hosted by Abena Tabi.
The operations of illegal miners have had a dire consequence on the environment. Aside destroying arable lands, operators have also succeeded in polluting virtually all water bodies in their catchment areas and beyond.
Kwadwo Opoku who is the CEO of FKP & Rald Investment Ltd was cocksure if one soldier finds his way into the operational zone of illegal miners to stop their activities, he would be killed in no time.
He made this remark to paint how dire the situation at hand is, which in his view demanded some drastic measures to curtail it in the face of the brave posture they are putting up against even soldiers.
Already, the government sanctioned Operation Vanguard made up of soldiers and police personnel have been accused of killing innocent persons that were found on galamsey sites.
“Wrong is wrong; let’s support our military to do what is necessary if they have to burn them, burn them,” he remarked, justifying why “democracy is not for us” because the people can only be controlled “when fear is put into them”.
“It’s not like the military see the galamsey people and they are shooting them, no; they want that last resort, that if they are challenged and the people want to stand their ground, what do they do?”
John Kumah, CEO of National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan, to some extent shared the position espoused by Mr. Poku.
He said the fight against galamsey has gotten to the point the state has to apply “drastic measures” if it wants to win.
He noted that those engaging in illegal mining are “fully armed”. He therefore asked, “how else can [the military] react, when [the illegal miners] have come out with their guns to attack you?”
Since shooting to kill is equally seen as illegal, Mr. Kumah is calling on parliament to empower the military personnel leading the galamsey fight with a law that would enable them to kill illegal miners.
But for Dr. Ahmed Jinapor, a lecturer at the University of Education, Winneba, the call for shoot-to-kill came to him as a surprise judging by the persona of the deputy speaker who first made the call.
He vehemently opposed it, asserting that his position should be “non-negotiable”.
“We are in desperate times but that doesn’t call for desperate steps” to counter the galamseyers, the MP for South Dayi Rockson Dafeamakpor sided with Dr. Jinapor.
After his brief history and bringing to shore how serious the issue is, he admitted it has become a “developmental issue” and the nation is already at the “tipping point”, but insisted, “officers of state have no right to commit a crime”.
Government in early 2017 roped in small scale miners when it banned illegal mining in the country.
Meanwhile, the MP is calling for a total ban on small scale mining as he urges small scale miners to pull resources together and go into large scale mining.