Yesterday, the Ghanaian Times published a story that pieces of equipment used for illegal mining activities on River Offin were destroyed and others confiscated by security personnel on Sunday in an operation to clamp down on illegal mining activities in the river and adjoining streams.
The equipment included chanfangs, generators, water pipes and barrels
Operation Halt II, a military team deployed to rid forest reserves and water bodies of illegal mining activities, struck following a viral video on social media reporting the illegal mining activities on the River Offin.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo launched Operation Vanguard on July 31, 2017 to stop the activities of galamseyers in the country.
In the face of the defiance of the galamseyers,
the President, in the December following, reiterated his commitment to banish galamsey, describing his commitment as “resolute and immutable” and ever since, he has been renewing that commitment in both word and deed.
In April last year, for instance, President Akufo-Addo called for a political consensus to help in the fight against illegal mining and he did so at the launch of the maiden national consultative dialogue on small-scale mining in Accra.
The persistence of the illegal miners in their recalcitrance forced the government to procure five new speed boats just last month for use by the security services to patrol and protect the country’s rivers as part of measures to stem their devastating activities.
One wonders why despite the devastating effects of galamsey due to its crude method, the illegal miners have the impetus to continue in their nefarious act without fear.
Clearly, the galamseyers are daring everyone because of the income they get from it but that alone cannot motivate them to dare even the force of security personnel charged to fight them.
Everything shows that the communities that should be the eyes for the state and report galamsey to aid the fight against it either support it or fear the reactions of the illegal miners.
What then can be done to win the badly-needed community support should engage the thinking of the whole nation because the benefits of galamsey go to a few people, whereas its devastation like the pollution of river bodies and the environment affects the innocent majority and, for that matter, the whole nation.
At the launch of the maiden national consultative dialogue on small-scale mining in Accra referred to in this piece, President Akufo-Addo gave the impression that there were some hands behind the galamseyers’ defiance and political hand at that.
Listen to a line in the speech he delivered on the occasion:“We cannot have one part of the political divide campaigning for galamsey in the bush, and the other waging an official fight against galamsey in the open.”
We cannot be hypocritical and say all is well in Ghana, ignoring the fact that even important matters of national interest are influenced in different ways by politicians for their own good.
It is about time the political consensus called for by President Akufo-Addo to aid the fight against galamsey was given attention because winning the war is non-negotiable and a victory for national progress.