Some metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives (MMDCEs) are said to be engaging in illegal mining, popularly referred to as galamsey.
The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD), Hajia Alima Mahama, who disclosed this, said the government would soon name and sack all such MMDCEs.
She added that the involvement of the MMDCEs in illegal mining was thwarting the government’s efforts to fight the menace and disclosed further that the government had all the names of the executives involved in the practice.
Hajia Alima was speaking at a retreat organised for MMDCEs in Accra yesterday to discuss the government’s road map on the lifting of the ban on small-scale mining in the country.
It was to sensitise the participants to the government’s road map on lifting the ban.
The government, as part of efforts to curb illegal mining activities and sanitise small-scale mining, set up the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM) in March, 2017.
The committee, among other responsibilities, is tasked to sanitise and regularise artisanal and small-scale mining activities in the various mining districts to ensure that miners work within the legal framework, as well as reclaim degraded lands and restore impacted water bodies.
Hajia Alima expressed worry that some of the MMDCEs were not helping the government’s effort in the fight against galamsey.
“The report we are getting from the field is not pleasant at all,” she said, adding “ the report we are getting is that some of you (MMDCEs) are messing up ”.
She said the MMDCEs were supposed to be implementing government’s policy direction at the local level and wondered why some of them, instead of helping the government to clamp down on illegal mining, had rather chosen to be the architects.
“Why should any of you (MMDCEs) here engage in galamsey?” she quizzed, cautioning that: “I want to assure you that you can’t do anything and hide, the government has the long hand”.
Hajia Alima cautioned the MMDCEs not to think that they were above the laws of the country, pointing out that “whatever you do, the Chief of Staff and the President will know…”
“Don’t do something and think that you can sneak,” she warned, adding that “at the right time, we will name you.”
Hajia Alima said the government, as part of efforts to identify the MMDCEs who were engaged in galamsey, would mount surveillance on all of them, saying the government “will put the National Security on you.”
“If you know that you are engaged in galamsey, tell yourself today that it is finished,” she urged, admonishing the MMDCEs to leave the retreat as changed people and go back home to their respective areas to help the fight against galamsey.
Speaking at the event, the Chief of Staff, Mrs Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, said the government had put in place a well- structured system to ensure that “after the ban is lifted, miners would not go back to the bad old ways to destroy the environment.”
She indicated that as of the end of August, 2018, 3,000 artisanal and small-scale miners had been trained in sustainable mining and minerals processing practices at the University of Mines and Technology, all at the expense of the government.
Source: Graphic Online