President Nana Akufo-Addo has reiterated his commitment to stamping out galamsey in the country, if that will cost him a potential re-election.
Government at the beginning of this year publicly announced measures have been put in place to put a complete halt to illegal mining, a practice which has not only destroyed farmlands and impacted the quality of the soil but claimed lives in the process. Though the exercise received enormous endorsement from a good number of Ghanaians from across the country, those affected, mostly from mining towns, remain opposed to the exercise, insisting it will cost them their livelihoods.
But their concerns have gone unheeded and government has maintained it is determined to see through the exercise even if it will cost them the presidency. Speaking at a special forum with chiefs and queenmothers from areas affected by mining, President Akufo-Addo says he is ready to put his own presidency on the line to flush out the illegal operations if that will cost him another term.
"We all know that we have been in difficult times and times like these there is need to keep body and soul together. Every man has a duty to provide for the family and sometimes use every means possible.”
The president also said the involvement of traditional leaders in the fight is extremely important, and underscored the need for them to back government in this regard.
“We cannot win this fight without the traditional support of chiefs” he said, adding, for any serious project, if you are not involved it doesn’t happen.”
Defence Minister Dominic Nitiwul told Accra based JOyFM a joint military and police squad will soon hit town to ensure those still involve in galamsey are driven away from the sites. He dispelled fears force will be used to drive the people away, though he said the intention is to ensure nothing of that sort happens.
“ The land is what our forefathers left for us and we should leave for our children and we cannot allow that to continue,” he said. “ We appreciate that the livelihoods of people will be affected, but we are not going out there to drive them people and live them.”
He said an alternative livelihoods support structure will be going round with the team to support those being asked to stop the trade. Mr. Nitiwul said Ghanaians will be engaged to ensure lands that have been affected are reclaimed and restored back to what they used to be.
Though he declined to mention when the exercise will happen, he was confident the teams setup for it will achieve the needed results.
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