President Akufo-Addo, has said unlike the National Democratic Congress (NDC) that gave up the fight on illegal mining, popularly known as galamsey when they were in government, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) decided to fight the menace head-one after winning power.
He said the NPP government after taking over power through the ballot box realized that the issue of galamsey was systematically degrading and polluting the country’s forests and water bodies and therefore decided to save the situation for generations unborn.
“When we came into office in January 2017, galamsey activities were rampant in many parts of our country. Our lands, forests and river bodies were being systematically degraded and polluted without any care. This had been the case for several years. Indeed, the previous NDC government had given up the fight against galamsey. We determined that this was an intolerable situation, and we owed it to generations yet unborn to tackle it and save our environment”.
“I was very much aware of that the lure of gold, once it takes hold, drives away all rationality. That is not the Ghanaian characteristic, it is a human characteristic that is being displayed all over the world throughout the ages. I was therefore, not under any illusions about the size of the problem we are taking on. But I was cheered by the support from a large part of the population that recognized the danger posed by the degradation of our lands and water bodies and the needless deaths of young people who were being buried alive in makeshift mining pits. I welcomed, in particular, the Media Coalition, which was formed in July 2017, that lent its support to the fight against galamsey”, he noted in his message on the state of the nation delivered on the floor of Parliament, Thursday, February 2020.
Commenting further on the issue, President Akufo-Addo said the battle his government launched was not against mining but rather the illegal aspect of it which goes a long way to pollute the country’s water bodies and destroys its forests.
“The Almighty, having blessed us with all these precious minerals, must surely be in agreement that we would find ways to use them to develop our country, and for the benefit of our communities. However, taking the minerals out should not lead to the destruction of our water bodies and forests, or endanger the sustainable existence of our country. What is more, it was obvious to all that the small-scale mining, that had always taken place in our communities, had been transformed into something unrecognizable in our history by the introduction of the monster machinery that dug up riverbeds and turned serene streams into ugly, toxic, muddy, frothy ponds. It was no longer small-scale mining, and it certainly was no longer local mining, when we saw the influx of foreigners into the most rural, isolated and densest of forests. It was no longer local community mining when rivers, hitherto, considered as sacred, were being abused and polluted”, he noted.
According to President Akufo-Addo, the actions his government took coupled with the training that was offered to about 4,000 people by the University of Mines and Technology impacted positively on the environment as some rivers showed signs of coming into life.
He said the threat posed to the future of the country by galamsey is grave, stressing that under no circumstances can the citizenry shirk their responsibilities in dealing with the problem at hand, appealing to the Media Coalition not to be daunted by the difficulties in the fight against menace.
“Government will not weaken its stance, and welcomes the support of the Media Coalition”, he assured.