The President of the Ghana National Association of Small-Scale Miners (GNASSM), Michael Peprah has advised the Government to reconsider the number of soldiers deployed to do bring an end to galamsey in mining areas.
Mr. Peprah explained that these 200 personnel cannot cover all the mining areas;where water bodies are being polluted as a result of mining.
“200 soldiers are not enough because we have over 12 major rivers that are all polluted in Ghana. So even if you are deploying these and segmenting them, how many of them can do the work?”Michael Peprah
Mr. Peprah shared that in his opinion, deploying the 200 personnel in the first place is a hasty decision;even though the motive may be right. He believed that the Government should have consulted various stakeholders before executing an operation involving the security personnel.
“If we want to win the galamsey fight, we need to engage all these people. Some communities do not even know galamsey is an illegality and those who are informed sometimes do not care about the damage caused. For government to achieve its objective, it should have carried out sensitization exercises before deploying these soldiers.”Michael Peprah
Meanwhile, the Greater Accra Regional Chairman of GNASSM, Ernest Ansah-Owusu;has called on Government to educate illegal miners on the processes involved in obtaining a mining license.
Miners not aware of appropriate channels
He was of the view that illegal mining still exists mainly because illegal miners are not aware;of the appropriate channels to use in legalizing their activities.
“A lot of the miners don’t have the information on the processes for obtaining licenses for mining. So, I suggest that the Government educates illegal miners on how to get licenses;so they can mine in a way that will not be detrimental to the country.”Ernest Ansah-Owusu
He also shared that the President’s directive of deploying 200 soldiers to hunt down illegal miners has revealed that illegal miners on site are more than miners with licenses to operate.
“Government’s directive has exposed more illegal miners. Apparently, the illegal miners including Chinese people are more than the legal miners. Those with licenses to operate are few but the illegal miners are the ones in operation now.”Ernest Ansah-Owusu
He, thus, noted that a mass education exercise for these illegal miners was very necessary at this time. He further commended the President for reviving the fight against galamsey.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Wednesday, April 28, 2021 authorized the Ghana Armed Forces to deploy 200 soldiers to go after all persons involved in illegal mining popularly known as galamsey.
A release from the Information Ministry stated that the move is to ensure that mining within water bodies is immediately stopped. This latest action to fight galamsey comes after the Stakeholder Dialogue on Small Scale Mining.
Updating the media in a presser yesterday, April 30, 2021, the Minister for Defence, Honarable Dominic Nitiwul, disclosed that the operation by the military forces will be conducted on all major river bodies and forest reserves in all galamsey endemic regions throughout the country. He said this will help them to rip off illegal miners.