Over the past few days, there have been intense debates over the whereabouts of excavators seized by the Operation Vanguard team in their operations across the country.
The debates, which started following the announcement by the Chairman of the National Taskforce Committee, Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, have led to some demanding full disclosure about the missing excavators.
Indeed, some civil society groups including the Media Coalition Against Galamsey and pressure group, Occupy Ghana as well as Concerned Small Scale Miners have joined the long list of Ghanaians demanding to know the whereabouts of the over 500 excavators confiscated within 2017 and 2018.
Prof. Frimpong Boateng had revealed last week that most of the seized excavators are missing although they were in the custody of district assemblies across the country.
The Ghanaian Times is as surprised as many Ghanaians that the excavators have disappeared from the premises of the assemblies who were supposed to have watched over them.
We also feel disappointed and sad about the revelation because it shows that once again we failed to enforce the laws of this country in a very bizarre manner.
We cannot imagine why government agencies cannot enforce the law and allow equipment seized and deposited in their custody vanish in a dramatic manner without a trace.
It is surprising that the chairman of the taskforce is unaware of the whereabouts of the excavators, when he is supposed to know where they were being kept.
We are concerned that the galamsey activities may escalate in view of the disappearance of the excavators, many of which can find their way back to the illegal mining sites.
We also regret that although it came to the notice of the taskforce that the excavators have disappeared, no one has yet been arrested in connection with the missing excavators.
The question to ask therefore, is, “Where are the excavators?”
We join many Ghanaians calling for full-scale investigation into the matter in order to unravel the circumstances leading to the disappearance of the excavators and if possible, apprehend those responsible for the missing excavators.
The war against galamsey appears to be floundering and we share the view of many that we are losing the war because some unpatriotic and selfish Ghanaians are working against the well-intended campaign against illegal mining. That is unfortunate.
We believe however, that, all is not lost yet. The revelation by the chairman of the taskforce is in itself a wake-up call and a rallying point for the entire country to redirect its focus and be more vigorous in the fight against the menace.
If we do not, we should blame ourselves for letting another opportunity slip by to save the environment.
We are certain that posterity would judge us harshly if we are unable to enforce the law and stop the irresponsible behaviour by few selfish individuals that is threatening the environment and the future of the present and unborn generations.
We need answers to the whereabouts of the excavators and we urge the government to investigate and bring all those who are involved to book.