The Okyenhene, Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin, has issued a strong warning to all illegal miners otherwise known as “Galamsey operators” to immediately stop their activities on the Akyem Abuakwa soil or get their equipments confiscated.
The caution follows speculations that some Chiefs of Akyem Abuakwa have a hand in the activities of illegal mining which has eventually polluted the only source of drinking water Birim River-in the area, claiming lives of innocent children in the process.
“I cannot be an advocate of environmental preservation whiles at my backyard worse form of environmental degradation is taking place,” Okyehene emphasized.
The Okyehene, who has played a keen advocacy against environmental degradation in the country and the world at large, maintained that he did not understand why people would link these unacceptable practices to him.
“I don’t care whoever is involved in this menace. Even if the person is my son or Chief he must be arrested and prosecuted since the activities is equally criminal as somebody dealing in cocaine,” he warned.
Osagyefo Ofori Panyin reiterated that laws of the country are meant to curb wrongdoing, therefore, if the laws are proven the enforcement bodies should apply the laws to the letter.
To this end, he has vowed to fight the canker that is gaining notoriety in his kingdom even if it calls for sacrificing his life. He made these pronouncements at a press conference held at the palace and heavily attended by Chiefs and elders of the Abuakwa kingdom last Monday.
Osagyefo Ofori Panyin continued that, “no amount of money accrued from the activities of this illegal operation could coerce me or change my fortunes since I already have what I depend on.”
Okyehene called on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to submit names and documents of operators who have been given licences to mine at the area to the traditional council to enable them monitor their activities and help his authority chase away illegal miners out of the system.
He noted that minerals in the land belongs to the state so it is incumbent on government to collaborate with the Traditional Authorities to fight the menace and ensure that the state and the traditional council benefit at large on his part, the Asaman Tamfoehene of Akyem Abuakwa Barima Kwame Koh II, said the alarming rate at which the Birim River and other water bodies in the area are being polluted must be checked.
He called on the security agencies to assist the traditional council to fight the menace and ensure that confiscated excavators are not released to their owners until they sought clearance from the traditional council.
Barima Koh II hinted that the activities of the miners have claimed many lives and also seriously affected education in the area since some school children abandon classes to indulge in the activities.
Source: The Ghanaian Observer/Ghana
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