A former deputy Interior Minister has said the fight against illegal mining known as galamsey will be successful if all Ghanaians are brought on board.
James Agalga said there is the need for concerted effort from the Lands and Natural Resources Ministry, civil society organizations and the various ministries to end illegal mining.
He told Dzifa Bampoh on Joy FM’s Top Story programme Tuesday, the Lands Minister, John Peter Amewu cannot be allowed to fight the menace all alone.
Former Deputy Interior Minister, James Agalga
“It seems to me that for now Mr Peter Amewu is a lone ranger…but for us to be able to deal with the issue of galamsey, we need to resort to concerted effort,” he said.
There has been some progress since the anti-galamsey operation was launched by the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s government in February, 2017.
Statistics available at the Lands Ministry indicate over 500 excavators used by some illegal miners across the country have been confiscated.
However, while some of the illegal miners have abandoned their activities since the start of anti-galamsey activities, the rest have refused to leave the sites.
Some of the illegal miners in Akwatia in the Eastern Region have threatened to vote out the President and governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) if they are driven out of their mining sites.
Unfazed by the threat, President Akufo-Addo has stated he will carry through with his government’s anti-galamsey plans to save the country’s environment from being destroyed.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo
As part of the second phase of the government’s plans, the Lands Minister has been touring some of the mining sites with a joint police and military entourage to arrest the people who are still mining.
On Monday while trying to access some illegal mining sites in the Ashanti Region, Mr Amewu is reported to have been stopped by some military men who were guarding the sites.
Infuriated by the action by the soldiers, Defense Minister, Dominic Nitiwul has directed a probe into some military men were said to be guarding illegal mines.
Defense Minister, Dominic Nitiwul
He told Joy News, the military has not sanctioned the protection of illegal mining sites by personnel.
“If there is any soldier or Commanding Officer in any of our garrisons has allowed his soldiers to go and engage in illegal mining, I can say that the army is not aware of it and we will look at it,” he said.
But Mr Agalga said the new government has left the anti-galamsey fight to the Lands Minister alone.
“I want to see all the stakeholders the Science and Environment Minister, the Interior Minister, National Security Minister and everybody,” he said.
He noted galamsey would have been reduced or eliminated if the citizens including the media had supported former President John Mahama when he launched the anti-galamsey operations.