The National Communications Officer of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr. Sammy Gyamfi, has expressed his disagreement with President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on his justification for the seizure and burning of excavators and other equipment used in illegal mining.
Recently, Ghana Armed Forces personnel have been deployed to various parts of the country to fight illegal small-scale mining that is damaging water bodies and forest reserves.
As part of its operations, the ‘Operation Halt’ taskforce has supervised the burning of various mining equipment, including excavators and generators.
However, this activity has been condemned by some persons who believe the seized equipment could serve other useful purposes.
On Wednesday, May 26, President Akufo-Addo justified the new approach by the government.
He advised persons who are dissatisfied with the government’s approach to “go to court to vindicate their position.”
President Akufo-Addo maintained that he is strongly opposed to illegal mining and the destruction of the country’s land, water, and forest resources, and will ensure that everything possible is done to stop such activities.
“I know there are some who believe that the ongoing exercise of ridding our water bodies and forest zones of harmful equipment and machinery is unlawful and, in some cases, harsh.”
“I strongly disagree, and I will advise those who take a contrary view to go to court to vindicate their position if they so wish. That is what the rule of law is all about,” Akufo-Addo said.
But Mr. Gyamfi disagrees with the President’s comments and insists that the jail term prescribed by the Minerals and Mining Act, Act 995 is a more effective way of curbing the menace.
“The prosecution and 15-25 year imprisonment of illegal miners as provided under our Minerals and Mining Act, is a more deterrent and effective way of fighting the “galamsey” menace than the burning of excavators.”