President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has stated emphatically to Chinese authorities that his government will not spare any Chinese involved in illegal small-scale mining popularly known as galamsey, in Ghana.
According to the Ghanaian president, he would not relax the laws on illegal small-scale mining because of its adverse effect on water bodies and lands in the country.
Interacting with some Chinese officials and a section of Ghanaians as part of his state visit to the People’s Republic of China, Nana Akufo-Addo noted that Ghanaian laws will not spare any Chinese caught in galamsey despite Ghana’s strong relationship with China.
Nana Akufo-Addo said an arrest of a Chinese galamseyer was not an attack on China.
He told the gathering that: “This phenomenon of galamsey has left a devastation of large tracts of Ghana lands. In many areas the lands have become ugly because of this indiscriminate exploitation of the lands with some of them going deep into forest reserves.
“People go and dig in forest reserves at midnight hoping to escape the scrutiny of the law enforcement agencies and they have active support and connivance sometimes of our own men…
“Our water bodies across the country, you drive through Ghana, you can’t drink Birem River anymore because it is now a dirty tract of water. There is no future if we continue down that road and together we have to stop it.
“Unfortunately for us, again, there are foreigners who are acting in this area. Some of them come from here [China]. In my meeting with President Xi Jinping yesterday, I said it to him frankly that we have this situation and many of his compatriots are involved in this exercise and I want him to understand that when the law enforcement agencies in Ghana act against them, we’re not acting against Chinese.
“We don’t have anti-Chinese policies in Ghana, we don’t have any hatred or dislike for China, on the contrary, we’ve welcomed Chinese investments in our economy, China today is the largest trading partner of Ghana…so, we have no quarrel with Chinese presence in Ghana but we do have a quarrel with those who get involved in this illegal mining and as far as it is concerned, I don’t intend to change my mind, no curve, no bend; I’m not changing my mind about this fight against galamsey”.
Nana Akufo-Addo disclosed that he was cautioned to be careful not to speak about galamsey while on his visit to China but he insisted that he could not keep mute about a subject that is important to him.
“There were those who said I should be careful raising the subject when I come here but how can I be careful raising a subject that is of concern to me? I can’t be concerned about raising a matter that is of concern to my people, otherwise I’ll be violating my own oath of office,” he stated.