The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu, whose duty is to ensure that government ends the illegal mining menace, appears helpless, and has rather stated his support for the media campaign against the menace.
Mr. Amewu even believes that the media has the power to end the power, beyond educating and informing the public on the effects of the act popularly known as galamsey.
The media activities are seeking to impress on the government to end the illegal mining practice, rather than join the advocay, since he is empowered to do more than just advocacy.
Speaking at the launch of the media coalition against galamsey, Mr. Amewu said, “I assure you that the President, Nana Akufo Addo, is so passionate about the environment, the pollution of water bodies, degradation of our forest and is strongly behind you. We in politics and in government are solidly behind you.”
He added that “The people who are currently going around and destroying the environment are total killers. It is not different from armed robbery. Metal content in our water bodies have increased, the mercury content has risen, the cyanide content has increased.”
The Minister suggested that, the media in Ghana were rather in the position to help address galamsey saying there is no one “bigger” than the media in addressing the menace.
“We have no better time than today and now to go after those guys… Yes I agree with you perfectly that there are some people, so called big shots behind them, but who can be bigger than the media, if there are politicians behind them, can they be bigger than the media? If there are chiefs behind them, can they be bigger than the media? My simple answer to that question is no.”
Government is being confronted with the challenge of galamsey in the country, which has resulted in Ghana losing most of its fresh water bodies and fertile lands.
Many communities have been devastated by the lasting negative impact of illegal mining.
The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources recently appealed to China in the fight against Chinese nationals who are contributing to the destruction of the country’s environment through illegal mining.
He made the plea in an emergency meeting with the Chinese Ambassador to Ghana, and the Mayor of China’s Guangxi Zhuang Province, to discuss how they could collectively deal with the role of Chinese nationals in the illegal mining menace in Ghana.
This in spite of the fact that Ghana’s laws are clear on illegal mining, and also restricts foreigners from engaging in the licensed small scale mining activity.
Coincidentally, it was at a time when some Chinese illegal miners had been arrested in the Western Region for mining in the River Ankobrah.
Citi FM has been at the forefront of media advocacy for a decisive and firm action from the government in dealing with the menace with various inside and out-of-studio events.
By: Jonas Nyabor/citifmonline.com/Ghana