Small scale miners in the Upper West Region have appealed to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to ignore calls for the resignation of the Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng as he had contributed to their engagement as small scale miners.
According to the miners, the Minister who doubles as the Chairman for the Inter-MinisterialCommittee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM) ensured their permamnet engagement as small scale miners, after undergoing rigorous training to enhance their capacities on undertaking mining without causing harm to the environment.
In a news release to the media at Wa on Thursday and signed by the secretary for the miners, Adams Musah, the miners appealed to the President to retain the minister in spite of calls on him to resign with regards to some missing excavators which were seized from illegal miners by the Operation Vanguard Team.
It will be recalled that on assumption of office in 2017, President Akufo-Addo launched a critical anti-galamsey campaign which led to the creation of the Operation Vanguard Team, made up of personnel from different security agencies tasked to clamp down on illegal miners.
About 500 excavators were seized from the miners during the two year exercise. The Chairman for the IMCIM, Dr Frimpong-Boateng announced recently that some of the excavators had gone missing and further charged six persons, some of whom were members of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) of which he was a member, for the loss.
He further directed the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service to pick up the suspects, who were later granted bail.
The small scale miners revealed that they had worked closely with the minister since he assumed his role as the chair for IMCIM and asserted that he displayed integrity that put him above reproach, saying he was not the type to get involved in acts that would tarnish his reputation.
The statement indicated that the Professor was very instrumental to the training of the miners such that he was the brain behind the innovative ways prescribed to recover lands destroyed by illegal miners, adding that through his innovation, most of the young men in the region who hitherto were illegal miners had become gainfully employed.
The miners urged Ghanaians to allow for the legally mandated authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into the matter and avoid casting insinuations on the man whose ingenuity, they claimed had given jobs to a lot of the youth in the mining sector.
FROM LYDIA DARLINGTON FORDJOUR, WA