Burnt excavator at a mining site in the Eastern region.

Private Legal Practitioner, Samson Lardy Anyenini has stated that there is no justification for the burning of excavators belonging to illegal miners.

According to the prominent Lawyer, “you don’t fight lawlessness with lawlessness.”

He noted that Ghana has laws to regulate the operations of small-scale miners as well as sanction those who violate such laws. It is therefore important that the laws are made to work.

Mr Anyenini made these comments during a discussion on the propriety of burning excavators seized from illegal miners as part of Operation Halt on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show Thursday, May 27. The discussion flowed from President Akufo-Addo’s public endorsement of the burning of excavators by the military in the course of the operation.

Speaking at a sod-cutting ceremony for the construction of phase one of the Law Village Project of the Ghana School of Law, President Akufo Addo said he disagrees with assertions by some Ghanaians that the ongoing exercise of ridding water bodies and forest zones of harmful equipment and machinery is unlawful and, in some cases, harsh.

“I strongly disagree and I will advise those who take a contrary view to go to court to vindicate their position if they so wish. That is what the rule of law is all about.” President Akufo Addo stated.

The President explained that, “equipment which is being used for any illegal or criminal purpose cannot confer on the owner or any other person any right whatsoever.

Reacting to the President’s statement, Mr Anyenini disagreed. He described the burning of excavators, as lawless and inappropriate.

“The excavators can be used for profitable things. I read that 3billion dollars will be required to reclaim lands that have been destroyed by illegal miners. The reclamation exercise will also require excavators. So what’s the sense in this? That we are burning the excavators only to turn around to buy some to reclaim the lands,” he said.

He further argued that there is no need to burn down the excavators when they could be used to facilitate development projects in various communities across the country.

He added that the galamsey fight will be a lost battle if the excavators are burnt and their owners are left to go scot-free.

He, thus, proposed that owners of the equipment should be identified and brought to book to serve as a deterrent to others who have any plans of engaging in the unlawful act.

“We have made laws. Very good laws. We amended the law in 2016 and provided regulations in 2020 to guide how we go about avoiding illegal mining and I stressed that if those laws are implemented to the fullest, the canker will just not exist at all,” he said.

“There’s a requirement on the state to make sure there’s publicity on the law, so that when people break them, they would be presumed to be aware and then they’ll be dealt with,” he advised.