The Convenor of the Media Coalition Against Illegal Mining, Dr. Ken Ashigbey, says the failure of government to appropriately tackle the galamsey menace might be either because they are complicit in the illegality or they are incompetent.

According to him, the failure of government to decisively deal with key persons who have been identified as being active participators and facilitators of galamsey in the country is rather telling on the government’s lack of commitment to the galamsey fight.

He was in particular referring to the recent brouhaha surrounding the activities of Akonta Mining Limited in the Tano Nimri Forest Reserve.

The company, owned by Bernard Antwi-Boasiako, the NPP Ashanti Regional Chairman and one other, is said to have been mining in the reserve despite a declaration by government that it has not granted any entry permit into the forest reserve.

While, the Lands and Natural Reseources Minister, Samuel Abu Jinapor, has stated that the activities of the mining firm are in direct breach of Ghana’s laws, no actions by the state have been taken to bring the company and its owners to book.

Speaking on JoyNews’ PM Express, Dr. Ashigbey said government’s actions and inactions in this rather clear illegality shows it is actively aiding and abetting the impunity that has characterised galamsey activities in the country in recent times.

He noted that as such, the government has no moral right to arrest others for committing the same crime.

“And to think that as we speak, the IGP nor the Attorney General has not invited Akonta Mining who has self-confessed, you know, they have confessed that they are mining, they have confessed they have leases, but the leases they have are not in the place they’re mining, not in the forest reserve. And as we speak, we have not heard anything about an invitation to these suspected criminals to answer for their crimes.

“And, you know, Kofi mentioned all the challenges that we’re having. Now Kidney diseases in these communities are on the rise; the turbidity of water has gone way beyond what we were supposed to be using to process water for consumption; our cocoa is under economic warfare, so you have the Chinese who are now beginning to produce cocoa and they are the majority of the foreigners who are involved in the destruction of our farmlands but our leaders are oblivious to it.

“It is either that they are complicit or are incompetent and in both case they don’t deserve to be where they are,” he said.

Commenting on the actions and inactions of district and regional authorities as the destruction of the Tano Nimri forest was on-going, he stated that there needs to be a wake-up call for state officials to realise that they are destroying the country.

“And that’s where I agree so much with Otumfuor on one hand when he talks about holding the District Chief Executives accountable. Why would we not find 2,000 chang fangs sitting on the Offin River when about 50 metres from the Nimri police station you see a factory manufacturing these dredgers and nobody, you know, the District Police Commanders are passing there and they’re not seeing it?

“How is it possible that 12 football fields have been destroyed in the Tano Nimri Reserve and there’s a Minerals Commission officer in that place, there’s a Forestry Commission person in that particular area. You know, we really need to wake up and smell the coffee that we are destroying our country.

“So the thing that is happening is that people are seeing people close to power doing these things and nothing happens to them and so no wonder Erastus will see those people by the [river] side and they think that why shouldn’t they mine?

“So it is really important for all of us as Ghana to wake up and say to our leaders that you cannot continue doing this thing, our lives are beyond risk,” he said.

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.