President Nana Akufo-Addo’s justification of the burning of excavators as a way to tackle illegal mining in the country is unfortunate, a former Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission has said.
Dr Toni Aubynn who was speaking to Oheneba Boamah Bennie on Power Kasiebo on Power 97.9 FM indicated that in as much as the country’s lands and river bodies needed to be saved from the activities of ilegal miners, the president the burning of the earth-moving machines is contrary to the laws.
His comments come after President Akufo-Addo endorsed the burning of equipment used by illegal miners for the pollution of water bodies and forest reserves.
President Akufo-Addo on Wednesday, May 26, 2021, suggested that persons who are dissatisfied with his government’s approach in clamping down on illegal miners, particularly the burning of excavators and other equipment to “go to court to vindicate their position”.
Reiterating his commitment to fighting the menace, Akufo-Addo said, “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 will 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,”the president added.
But Dr Tony Aubynn disagrees with the government’s approach, saying “I am not a lawyer but what I know is that the burning of these equipment in the name of fighting the canker is unlawful. Our laws do not state so.”
He indicated that the government could have seized these heavy equipment to be used in ventures that will benefit the country other than setting them ablaze at illegal mining sites.
He believes the government can revise its strategy and be fierce by severely prosecuting illegal miners to deter others from plowing the arable lands and forest reserves with impunity.
Many have held the view of Dr Aubynn, saying there are thousands of kilometres of roads to rehabilitate across the country thus when the equipment of illegal mibners are put to good use, the government could save millions of cedis in the construction of roads for the citizenry.
Former Brong Ahafo Regional Minister and legislator for Asunafo South, Mr Eric Opoku is one of the prominent Ghanaians that has criticised the government’s approach to tackling galamsey.
Opoku is also skeptical about the success of the illegal mining fight in the country although the Akufo-Addo government has waged war against the illegal activities that has heavily polluted several river bodies in the middle and sothern belt of the country.
Mr Opoku who is also the Minority’s spokesperson on Agriculture suggested that the earth-moving equipment be seized and later used in the reclamation of land in mining areas.
“Why are we burning excavators and not arresting the owners?,” he quizzed ” Even with this burning of excavators, why can’t we seize them and use them to reclaim the land?
He told Dwaboase host Kwame Minkah Wednesday morning that “Today the soldiers are complaining because they say when they leave the site, the illegal miners return to continue the galamsey.”
“They are worried because when you destroyed the equipment you did not arrest the culprits so they have money and can buy more machines to return to the site,” he added.
By Henryson Okrah|Myxyzonline.com|Ghana