The Member of Parliament for Asokwa, Patricia Akua Appiagyei, has bemoaned the activities of illegal miners in the country, admitting that the Akufo-Addo government was not successful at clamping down on their activities to save lands and water bodies.
“As a government, we have done all we could to stop the operations of illegal mining in the country… That is why President Akufo-Addo set up a committee to stop this…The president did his best but we the people in this country are who did not understand ourselves,” Madam Appiagyei told Piesie Okrah on Dwaboase on Power 97.9 FM Thursday morning.
“This [policy] we instituted was to stop to save the country’s lands and waterbodies but now the canker has become too much because our citizens’ quest for quick money is why we are here,” the former Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly Boss said.
Madam Appiagyei who is also a member of Parliament’s Lands and Forestry Commission said “if we all adhere to the measures that the government has put in place to stop the illegal mining, we can get our river bodies to be clean.”
“We have to go back to square one. It is not a one person’s fight. We have to apply the laws else we’ll fail,” Madam Appiagyei noted as she advised that the institutions who are responsible to regulate the sector, including chiefs, be honest in their contributions towards fighting the canker.
The discussion on clamping down on the activities of illegal miners has heightened in recent times following the destruction of almost all the river bodies in the country and its dire consequences stare the country in the face.
The Ghana Water Company have, in the past, warned that the country risks importing water for consumption unless illegal mining activities stop. They say the spate of water pollution in the Western, Central and Eastern regions is approaching alarming levels.
But some have argued that once the Akufo-Addo government failed to punish members of his party like the Western Regional Secretary of the NPP, Charles Bissue, and others who were indicted in an undercover documentary on illegal mining, fighting the illegal plowing of land remains just a promise.
But Madam Appiagyei believes even if the said people caught on tape were fired, the situation would not have changed until stakeholders became honest and had the country at heart.
Asked whether it would not have served as a deterrent, the former KMA boss said “Its very true. It is very true. But the problem is bigger than just these few people. If we all are not honest to ourselves; if all the stakeholders are not honest then we will still be where we are.”
If we develop a policy that will be able to deter defaulters I think we will be making progress,” she added and hoped the institutions work assiduously to put small scale illegal mining under control to save the environment.
Reacting to the issue on the programme, Member of Parliament for Ekumfi Mr Abeiku crentsil said the Akufo-Addo government was not prepared to fight illegal mining in the country because he missed a golden opportunity to punish his party members who were caught on tape in relation to galamsey.
Crentsil said Anas Aremeyaw Anas, the undercover journalist who busted Charles Bissue and his cohorts in the past embarked on a similar investigation at the Tema Port where some officials were caught on camera taking bribes under the late president J.E.A Mills but the government ensured that they were punished.
“President Mills’ government ensured that such bad officers were punished and that served as a deterrent to ther officials,” he added and condmened the Akufo-Addo government for sweeping Anas’ work on illegal mining under the carpet.