Govt to empoly youth to reclaim galamsey land

Mr Dominic Nitiwul,Minister of Defence

Mr Dominic Nitiwul,Minister of Defence

HUNDREDS of unemployed youth in areas affected by illegal mining are to be engaged by the government to reclaim lands destroyed by illegal mining across the country.

The Defence Minister, Dominic Nitiwul, said the land reclamation exercise would start in two months as government moves into the next phase of its campaign against illegal mining.

Mr. Nnitiwul made this known in Obuasi on Tuesday when he addressed the Ashanti regional team of Operation Vanguard, a 400 joint military and police task force deployed on July 31 to fight illegal mining in three regions – Western, Ashanti and Eastern.

The expected exercise is coming off following an assessment of the fight against illegal mining which Mr. Nitiwul described as a “huge success.”

Although he was unable to readily state the number of people to be engaged and how much government would be committing to that exercise, Mr. Nitiwul said the purpose was to return the land and river bodies to their near original state.

The reclamation exercise, he said, offers illegal miners an opportunity to end the destruction of the environment and engage in meaningful employment.

According to him, government remained resolved to permanently end the illegal mining menace, also known as ‘galamsey’.

He said that steps have been designed to halt illegal mining and would be followed through to ensure that illegal miners were engaged legally and meaningfully.

Lands and Natural Resources Minister, John Peter Amewu, on an earlier tour of some galamsey ravaged communities had indicated that it could cost government at least GH¢20 billion to reclaim the land surface damaged by years of illegal mining activities.

He said to reclaim a hectare of damaged land could cost Ghana between GH¢ 60,000 to 70,000 and estimated that at least 1.5 per cent of Ghana’s 228,000 sq km land has been destroyed through irresponsible mining.

Meanwhile, the Commander of Operation Vanguard, Colonel William Agyapong, has lauded the collaboration his team was enjoying from residents.

Col. Agyapong said the locals, since the team was deployed, have given “credible and reliable information” which has led to the arrest of illegal miners operating in the heart of some forests.

He gave thumbs up for the teams conduct and urged residents to volunteer more so that the canker was brought to an end.

BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI, OBUASI        

 

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