Allegations that there is an ongoing mining activity in the Effutu Ramsar site, the very sacred groove where the deer hunting takes place as part of the annual Aboakyer festival, has been described as false by both the Chief Executive of the Minerals Commission, Martin Kwaku Ayisi and Alexander Afenyo-Markin, Member of Parliament for the area.
The allegations were raised by a group of protesters who hit the streets in a lawless demonstration led by the wannabe National Democratic Congress (NDC) parliamentary aspirant for the area, James Kofi Annan.
The protesters at a point became lawless and pelted police personnel with stones, injuring some in the process.
In response to the allegations that the said sacred forest, together with the several deer in it, had been sold to investors by some leaders of the New Patriotic Party in Effutu for mining purposes, the State institution responsible for such mining approvals have cleared the air:
“I was just surprised this morning that the people of Effutu are demonstrating about people going to mine in Yenko and that is the problem I am having with some of the journalists. Like this Kakum thing; you don’t find out. As far back as two, three years ago, we sent a letter to Neenyi Ghartey and the Assembly and everybody that there is nothing and there is no activity there so a lot of misinformation is going on and I am saying that in my case, my gates are always available. Just give us a call and check,” Chief Executive of the Minerals Commission, Martin Kwaku Ayisi noted in response to the allegations being raised in Winneba, Effutu when he spoke at symposium yesterday.
The Minerals Commission Boss explained further: “then let me say this; in the mining cadastral, which is available, practically the whole Ghana is in our system. Ramsar Site, Muni Lagoon, whatever, when you come, we normally have what we call restricted sites. There are restrictions on such sites. So we tell you that you can’t have it. It is as simple as that.”
Member of Parliament for the area, Alexander Afenyo-Markin was also swift in describing the allegation as one of the several propaganda agendas of the NDC in the area planned to tarnish his image and that of Government.
Afenyo-Markin said there was not a single iota of truth in the allegations spewed by politically motivated protesters: “They bear false witness because they do not fear God. So they are and so they have always been. The NDC in my constituency has come out with serious allegations to the effect that government officials, including my office, sat unconcerned and allowed people to buy the sacred forest of Effutu where we go for deer hunting for the mining of lithium and I simply want to say that this allegation is false.”
Afenyo-Markin added, “I simply want to say that this allegation is false. In fact, the Minerals Commission, two years ago, issued a statement to the effect that such an application had not been received by them let alone approving for a company to mine lithium in that sacred forest where we haunt for deer during our Aboakyer Festival.”
“I just want to set the record straight that there is no such thing. I will therefore urge my colleagues in the NDC to focus on real challenges facing our people so that we engage on issues rather than polluting the minds of people; misinforming and lying.
“Such a practice does not help in democracy. This morning, I’m reliably informed that the Minerals Commission Chief Executive, in a national dialogue, has had the course to again reiterate that what is being put out there by the NDC in Effutu is untrue and unfounded,” Afenyo-Markin asserted.
In an interview on Eyewitness News, Mr Afenyo-Markin reassured the people of Effutu, both locally and abroad, that the sacred forest remained an integral part of the Aboakyire festival and would continue to serve as a hunting ground.
“I am unaware of any lease granting. I have checked with them, they said they won’t do it. And I want to assure the people of Effutu, those abroad, and those in Winneba that the sacred forest is a hunting ground for our festival. I want to assure you that I will do everything to protect the forest the way I met it.”