THE Okyenhene, Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin has expressed worries over how illegal mining, popularly known as ‘’Galamsey’’ is destroying the country.
According to the Okyenhene, the war on galamsey has had some impact adding, “Yes, it has, I know that for sure. The Birim River now stays clear around here. So, I know that it has some positive impact.”
Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin, who was reacting to how some people continue to refer to the Kyebi area as the headquarters of galamsey activities on Asaase Radio said there is the need to nib the activities of illegal mining in the bud to safeguard the environment for future generations.
The Okyenhene noted that “The point is, Article 257(6) [of the Constitution] places all the natural resources in the [central government] hands for protection for future generations. They need to protect them’’.
‘’We [the chiefs] do not have coercive force. I tried to use my people to drive them away and we were facing danger every day and people didn’t know.”
He added that “At one time in my relationship with the then Chief of Defence Staff, I begged him. I said it [galamsey] was getting out of hand and we should probably organise some of the military people to come here [Kyebi]. They did and within a week the whole thing was shut down. A week later they [the politicians] called them [military] and said ‘don’t you know it’s an election year?”
Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin indicated that “So I’ve shed tears of anger and frustration where I sit about this and to the point that somebody will even say that I was engaged in galamsey. My answer to them is, I own all the lands, if I want to do galamsey, why would I want to go and steal it? I would go to the Minerals Commission and say I’m going to my land just give me the licence.
“So the pain I shed was people not speaking the truth; lying about it all over.”
The Okyenhene has, however, commended the president for his courage in dealing with the illegal mining menace in the country.
He said, “the point now is, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo dared to speak to it and diminish the issues of galamsey in this country. He may have lost some votes but you know what, it’s more protection of voters than votes.”
The Okyenhene said there is the need to minimize mining and have the appetite to grow domestic tourism to develop the country.
“I think we need to minimize the country’s love for mining because mining has not done too well for us here in Ghana so we need to minimize that and grow our potential tourism market.
‘’We need to build people who control what they eat … so we need to teach our people about organic farming and let them plant their food … and make sure that the food that comes to the dining table is well-planted and has no toxic chemicals that will kill them.”
The Okyenhene speaking about the mining of bauxite in the Atewa Forest, said, “I have made a statement that we should stop mining altogether in this country or if we can for about three, four years and it’s all there for future generations. We don’t need to mine everything we’ve seen.”
“Future generations should come and find that we left them some resources … I am praying, as they’ve told us that there’s not too much destruction that there is going to do to the habitat and the species that we find in Atewa … whether we environmentalists believe it or not, it is up to what future generations would do,” he said.