ACCRA, Ghana’s President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says he is prepared to put his presidency on the line in his quest to end the scourge of illegal mining, known locally as “galamsey”, in order to safeguard Ghana’s future.

He told a workshop convened specially for the country’s traditional chiefs on the effects of the illegal mining scourge here Monday that he was not worried whose ox was gored in the fight against galamsey because he had the duty as the leader of the country to ensure the survival of Ghana as an entity.

It has been said that I should be careful because many of these people voted for me and if I continue this exercise, they would not vote for me. But we have a duty to protect it for those who would come after us and if our river bodies are drying up, our landscape is being desecrated, we have a responsibility to say ‘No’, we can’t allow this to go on for our own common survival and that of those to come. If we allow that to continue, we are jeopardising our own future, he said.

The president said although the country had passed through difficult times, and many people have had to find means of making ends meet for themselves and their families, that should not be the reason for some citizens to engage in activities which could spell doom for the country.

It was unacceptable that Ghana’s rivers and forests, “which have been with us for centuries, should dry up and be devastated because people had to survive.

And all kinds of people from all walks of our national life are engaged in this exercise — security personnel, political leaders, businessmen, and nananom, some chiefs are all involved in this. I cannot oversee that because it would be a betrayal of the trust that the Ghanaian people put on me on Jan 7 this year, he said, urging the traditional leaders not to sit back and allow the activities of illegal miners to jeopardise the very survival of the nation.

President Akufo-Addo pleaded with the traditional rulers and authorities to support the fight against illegal mining, saying: I am very committed but my commitment is not enough, I need yours as well. With your commitment, I will leave here knowing that, no matter how difficult and how long it takes, we will win this fight.

Any serious social mobilisation of Ghana since time immemorial involved our chiefs; without them nothing can happen. So the reason why you have been brought here today is to have the opportunity to share with you, our thoughts, our strategy, our thinking and I ask of you, in the name of the generations yet unborn, for your support and active involvement in bringing this menace of galamsey to an end.”