Burnt excavator at a mining site in the Eastern region.

Pressure group, OccupyGhana, has criticised President Akufo-Addo for entreating mining operators to seek redress in court over the burning of excavators by military officials if they deemed it fit.

Speaking on Top Story, Wednesday, the Leader of OccupyGhana, Kweku Segbefia was emphatic that the burning of machinery used in mining activities is inappropriate.

According to him, there are laws set out in the constitution laying down sanctions and punishments for persons engaged in the illegality, hence setting ablaze machinery is in breach of the Mining and Mineral Act.

“If the president is daring people to go to court if they feel the burning of excavators is not in line with the law then essential he is trying to tell us that he has no respect with the law.

“The law states clearly that if you arrest a person that is using any of these materials, you grab the person and take him to court. You hand over what machinery the person using to the police after the person is convicted, then the court will hand over the equipment to a minister who then assigns the equipment to any ministerial agencies of his choice, that is what the law says,” he added.

President Akufo-Addo, earlier, defended the extreme measures employed by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, and Defence to rid the country of illegal mining activities and operators as part of Operation Halt.

Speaking at the sod-cutting ceremony to commence the Law Village Project, he says, “I know there are some who believe that the ongoing exercise of ridding our water bodies and forest zones of harmful equipment and machinery is unlawful and, in some cases, harsh.

“I strongly disagree, and I would 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,” he stated.

Reacting to that, Mr Segbefia accused government of failing to enforce the laws governing mining activities.

He is of the view that the Akufo-Addo led government is rather turned to fighting the menace with illegality after employing epileptic measures during its first tenure of office to combat the canker.

“Every aspect of galamsey is covered by law so much so that if all government had done is to apply the law, not a single of our river bodies would have turned brown.”

The leader for Occupy Ghana further intimated that government lacked the temerity to prosecute perpetrators responsible for the degradation of the country’s lands and water bodies through galamsey.

“How did we get here, we got here because government waged an epileptic fight against galamsey and they lost that fight when they let Aisha huang go scotfree, in fact when they first arrested her, they were afraid to charge her with a proper law and charge her with the law that she was going to pay GHS3,600.00.

When there were laws that will have derived GHS3.6 million from her and when we appeal and wrote to the Attorney to amend the charge then they took her out of the country because they could not bring themselves to try her by the law. That is how we lost the fight against the galamsey,” he stated.

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