The Fight Against Galamsey: Riverguard System Is The Panacea

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Illegal Miners Destroying The Black Volta
Illegal Miners Destroying The Black Volta

It is an undeniable fact and trite knowledge that the various approach used in the past in tackling or combating the clear and present danger of galamsey activities especially on our river-bodies have nearly failed or yielded very little result comparatively.

At least we have seen Operation Vanguard, GalamStop, Operation Halt 1 & 2, a joint military and police operations which was set to combat and uproot these illegal miners or galamseyers from in-and-around our river-bodies.
But, after all of those operations and the cost involved, the threat still persists and we are all witnesses to the outcome so far which is very little to write home about.

After nearly four years of all of these operations to combat illegal miners on all fronts, just about week ago, there was a pitiful viral video of galamseyers ‘gang-raping’ the Black Volta River with loads of chanfans dotted across the length and breadth of the river and busily destroying it.

This culminated in recent military operations on the Black Volta to stop these illegal miners and the military’s continues stay as guards by the riverside would obviously cost the state a fortune.

There’s therefore the need to step back from the old ways, re-configure the whole combatting architecture or approach and turn it around for a different, sustainable, reliable, cost effective and most efficient approach which has the propensity to yield the desired result of warding off these galamseyers from in-and-around our rivers.
This new direction or approach is not far-fetched, it lies in the proven practice done elsewhere called Riverguard System.

Fortunately for us as a country, reports have it that under the auspices of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, some 300 River Guards have received training already in swimming, water survival technique, boat handling, incidence reporting and intelligence gathering amongst others to equip them to manage, control and stop these ‘galamseyers’ from destroying the rivers.

The Minerals Commission has also secured a security center which will track and monitor the movements of these riverguards so as to prevent them from being corrupted by the miners because their uniforms are fitted with body-cams.

Sadly, as I write today, these 300 trained riverguards are still languishing at home unemployed.
It’s unfortunate government will spend a lot of money to train all these personnel by the Naval Command of the Armed Forces and in the end refuse to deploy them to discharge their duties for which reason they were trained whilst the age-old canker of galamsey on river bodies continue to fester.

And to the point where the President of the Republic(Nana Akufo-Addo ) even committed to put his presidency on the line for the campaign shows the enormity or the magnitude of the fight against the galamsey menace and therefore it will be prudent to try all options and possible ways available especially one like the riverguard system which is tried and tested elsewhere.

By Julian Owusu-Abedi

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