Missing Excavators Saga: No one involved will be shielded – President

Accra President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Thursday assured Ghanaians that no one involved the missing excavators saga will be shielded no matter what their position is or political colours.

He said the Inter-Ministerial Community Against Illegal Mining along with Operation Vanguard were determined to disrupt illegal mining (galamsey) activities by confiscating equipment deployed for those activities.

Delivering his Fourth State of the Nation Address to Parliament on Thursday in Accra the President said about 12000 chanfan machines that go under the river and scoop up the river bed have so far been seized and destroyed off site.

Some excavators were also seized and a number of them have gone missing the police have arrested and charged some of the alleged culprits and investigations are ongoing the President stated.

The Inter-Ministerial Coalition had been working hard and chalked some successes he said adding that Operation Vanguard had been largely successful even though problems still remained.

Since its launch in 2017 mining with impunity on water bodies in forest reserve had declined; while more than 4000 miners had received training in sustainable mining.

The number of Ghanaians who were dying in makeshifts mining pits had reduced by about 90 per cent.

Giving the background to the Operation he said:When we came to power in January 2017 galamsey activities were rampant in parts of the country; our lands forests and river bodies were being systematically degraded and polluted without any care and this had been there for several years the President said.

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 the menace and save our environment he said.

President Akufo-Addo however explained that he was very much aware that the lure of gold once it took hold drove away all rationality.

…That is not a Ghanaian characteristic it is a human characteristic that is being displayed all over the world throughout the ages.

I was therefore not under any illusion about the size and scope of the problem we were taking on. But I was cheered by the support from a large part of the population that has also recognised 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 make shift mining pits.

He therefore welcomed in particular the Media Coalition which was formed in July 2017 to help in the fight galamsey and appealed to members not to be daunted by the difficulties in the fight.

The President explained that the battle they launched was not against mining thus it would be unrealistic for anyone to suggest that there should be no mining in Ghana.

The Almighty having blessed us with all these precious minerals must surely be in agreement that we 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 he said.

It was obvious he said that small scale mining had always taken place in communities but the introduction of the Chanfan had turned serene streams into ugly toxic muddy fluttery ponds which was unacceptable.

The threat posed by galamsey to our country is great but we cannot shirk our responsibilities in dealing with it President Akufo-Addo said.

Source: Ghana News Agency