President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says the fight against illegal mining can be won through close collaboration with Nananom to keep the environment clean and protect it as our heritage.
The President, who was addressing members of the National House of Chiefs
in Kumasi yesterday, in a meeting which sought to seek the assistance of Nananom in the fight against the galamsey menace, appealed to the House not to consider the decision as a political one.
He reiterated that his government was not against mining, but frowns on the irresponsible manner which destroys the land and water bodies.
“If we have to win the fight, we (government and nananom) need to collaborate closely and fight it”, he said.
Nana Akufo-Addo said the galamsey menace is a matter of great importance and reiterated that his stance against illegal mining remains the central feature of his administration, even though it cost the party, but that was a simple truth.
According to him, Nananom has for centuries now been the custodians of lands, while the government by statute is responsible for the management of the lands in trust for the people.
He noted that the rules of mining ensure that the lands and water bodies are not polluted but that is not the case, hence the meeting with Nananom to reverse the trend.
, “it is obvious that, if we are to win the fight, you and I have to take the lead to collaborate closely to do so. That is why I am here today,” he told the chiefs.
According to him, eighty per cent (80%) of the lands in Ghana continue to be under the custody of Chiefs, whereas the remainder of twenty per cent (20%) is held in trust by the President.
What this means, he said is that, ultimately, the welfare of the state of the lands is the joint responsibility of Chiefs and the President, although, by statute, the minerals in the soil belong to the President in trust for the people.
“Historically, we discharged that responsibility well. Even though for centuries, we have been a mining nation, mining did not pose a threat to the health of our environment and water bodies.
The rules that you put in place for mining ensured that the sanctity of our lands remained intact, and our water bodies remained unpolluted.
Tragically, in the modern era, that is no longer the case. And that is why I have come to you today to talk about how, together, we can repair this dramatic situation,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo indicated that, since he took office, on 7th January 2017, he has made it a central feature of his presidency to lead in the efforts to rid the country of the menace of Galamsey, with a firm commitment made in his inaugural speech on the matter.
Ogyeahohoo Yaw Gyebi, President of the National House of Chiefs and Paramount Chief of Sefwi Anhwiaso in the Western North said the effects of illegal mining have threatened the survival of local farmers and undermined the revenue mobilisation drive of the economy.
He called for appropriate sanctions against persons involved in the practice.
Nana Akufo-Addo later engaged Nananom in a closed-door meeting to take a definite stance on the galamsey menace.
The President was also billed to meet Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) later in the day.