Voters’ threat should not dissuade government against illegal mining – CSO

Bolgatanga, The Development Research and Advocacy Centre (DRAC), a Non-Governmental Organization, operating in northern Ghana, has called on government not to be dissuaded and detracted by the threat issued by some voters on the fight against illegal small scale mining activities in the country.

The threat of voter disaffection from the illegal mining community must not detract the government’s attention from this trajectory of national importance, for, those who support this course and in whose interest the fight against illegal mining is on are more than those who are against it.

The NGO in a press statement issued and signed by its Pogrammes Manager, Mr Aberinga Milton, stressed that it was very shocking news to hear some prominent members from some institutions like the Chamber of Mines and some traditional rulers calling on Government to stop the fight against the phenomenon.

We condemn unequivocally, the appeal made by some Chiefs to government to give illegal miners a chance. As custodians of our sacred culture, tradition and God-given resources, our Chiefs have a duty to protect our eco-system. It therefore comes as a shock to us when some of them are pleading with government to give chance for the wanton destruction of our God given natural resources for selfish reasons, the statement said.

The statement read, DRAC wishes to urge the government not to be detracted by the unfortunate and unpatriotic comments of some Ghanaians who appear to be sitting on the fence when the larger population of this country has expressed their passion and resolve to end illegal mining in Ghana. DRAC considers the ultimatums given by some groups and individuals to the government to end the activities of illegal mining as rather unpatriotic and hypocritical. People should speak only if they have something to say and can say it constructively.

It stressed that the very survival of the environment, especially the country’s water bodies was already threatened by the effects of global warming and indicated that many countries around the globe are vigorously developing and implementing mitigating strategies in order to take control of the welfare of their people.

The NGO further expressed concern about the spate of pollution of drinking water sources and the wanton destruction of the forests by illegal miners all in the name of seeking wealth, and warned that if stringent measures were not put in place to tackle the menace, a time would come when water would become more expensive for the ordinarily person to be able to avoid.

Whilst commending the government, the security agencies and the media for leading the crusade against the phenomenon, it called on government to beware of some selfish government officials, politicians, the security agencies and traditional rulers who will want to undermine the course.

Besides, it stressed the need for the security agencies and the judiciary to rally strongly behind the government and said the media could play key role by intensifying their efforts at exposing individuals and groups who were behind the scenes and destroying the environment.

DRAC wishes to commend the government and its partners for the laudable decision especially when this is coming at a time the very survival of the environment and especially water bodies are already threatened by the effects of global warming and many countries around the globe are vigorously developing and implementing mitigating strategies in order to take control of the welfare of their people. It is therefore good news and wind of hope that for the first time in our political history we are getting signal that the state is resolved to assert its authority and right to legitimate violence.

Source: Ghana News Agency