Stop Illegal Mining Or Face the Law - Vice Pee Warns Foreigners

Vice-President Mr John Dramani Mahama, has cautioned foreigners involved in illegal mining (galamsey) to desist from the practice or be made to face the full rigours of the law. He said the use of sophisticated machines, including excavators and bulldozers, by the foreigners was destroying the environment to the detriment of the country. “It is not acceptable for foreigners to be involved in illegal mining and those who will be caught will face the full rigours of the law without any discrimination,” the Vice President warned. Speaking at the Ohumkan Festival of the chiefs and people of Akyem Tafo in the East Akyem Municipality in the Eastern Region, Mr Mahama warned that “the Government will not continue to sit down for any foreigner to come in and flout the laws of Ghana.” The festival is celebrated to pray for a harvest of more yams in the area. This year's festival was held on the theme: "Peace: A Vital Tool for Community Development". Vice-President Mahama noted that initially, it was only Ghanaian youth who were involved in illegal mining, using pickaxes and shovels to mine. Unfortunately however, he said, some foreigners with capital and investment were coming to the country and giving sophisticated machines such as bulldozers and excavators to the youth to mine. “And if you look at the destruction they are causing to the environment, the government cannot continue to sit down and let this happen,” he added. To curb the menace, he gave the assurance that the government, together with traditional leaders, would come up with a plan on how best to stop foreigners from mining illegally in the country. The Vice-President said since no Ghanaian could go to other countries to flout their laws, the same way “no foreigner can come in to flout the laws of the host country”. Concerning peaceful existence among Ghanaians, the Vice-President charged the various traditional authorities to not discrimate against the other tribal groups living in their respective traditional areas. He said Ghana was a unitary state and thus Ghanaians had the right to move and live in any part of the country. He said Ghanaians, by their culture, were known to be accommodating and asked them not to allow xenophobia in their dealings with one another. Mr Mahama expressed worry at the increasing chieftaincy conflicts in the country. He said some people who were not entitled to be chiefs were fighting for such positions because of control over land and other resources. He, therefore, urged traditional leaders to adopt strategies on how to reduce or end chieftaincy disputes. Mr Mahama underscored the need for Ghanaians to stand for peace during and after the December 2012 general election The Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Victor Smith, said there was the need for the people to support the government to execute its projects under the Better Ghana agenda. He urged chiefs to commend governments for good work done and criticise them for poor performance, instead of allowing themselves to be gagged by the arguments that chiefs were not supposed to engaged in politics. The Tafohene, Osabarima Adusei Peasah IV, stressed the need for Ghanaians to coexist peacefully, since the country needed peace to develop and satisfy the needs of all. Funds were raised for the construction of a community development centre in the area. On behalf of the government, the Vice-President donated GH¢5,000 while Mr Smith donated 1,000 bags of cement amounting to GH¢20,000 towards the project. Mr J.B. Dankwa, an aspiring Member of Parliament for the area, donated GH¢10,000 while other people made various donations toward the project.