An Eco-Conscious Citizens letter co-signed by a number of environmental organisations will be delivered to Parliament today.
The letter petitions Rt. Hon. Alban Bagbin to summon Mr. John Allotey, Chief Executive of Forestry Commission to Parliament to explain his response in a letter dated August 8 2022 to a request by Messrs Akonta Company Limited to enter the Tano Nimiri Forest Reserve for prospecting purposes.
In the said letter, Mr. Allotey stated that “the Forestry Commission in principle has no objection to mining”, thereby opening the door for Messrs Akonta Mining company to enter Tano Nimiri Forest Reserve, subject to the Minister’s directive on mining in forest reserves.
The environmental organisations behind the letter, A Rocha Ghana, Ghana Environmental Advocacy Group, Food Sovereignty Ghana, Green Butterfly, Gh Environment, Ghana Youth Environment Movement, Youth Alliance for Green Ghana, Centre for Environment and Rural Development and Eco Amet Solutions, are particularly concerned about Mr Allotey apparently going against the directive issued on 12th April 2021 by the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, which stated that there should be no permits processed for renewal and or extention of reconnaissance and prospecting licenses in forest reserves.
Secondly, the environmentalists view Mr Allotey’s stated position as being at odds with the Forestry Commission’s vision, which is “to leave future generations and their communities with richer, better, more valuable forestry and wildlife endowments than we inherited”, and its mission to sustainably develop and manage Ghana’s forestry and wildlife resources.
Additionally, Eco-Conscious Citizens has today posted a short video at https://bit.ly/MiningInForestReserve highlighting what it calls an existential threat to all Ghanaians. It graphically shows the destruction and degradation of the land and water bodies that result from not only galamsey, but also the use of prospecting licences to actually mine illegally in the forest reserves.
The latter point is one of the reasons for the Minister’s directive to halt the issuance of prospecting licences.
The environmentalists have also asked that the Speaker request the Forestry Commission to indicate what percentage of production forest reserves has to date been mined.