Chiefs lack the power to fight galamsey – Okyenhene
Okyenhene, Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin says chiefs in Ghana lack the power to fight illegal mining known as galamsey.
According to him, the fight against illegal mining goes beyond traditional authorities.
The Okyenhene in an interview on Accra-based Citi FM said “Yes, there may be some chiefs clandestinely doing this [galamsey], but I can tell you, I’m not holding brief for them, most of what goes on is beyond the chief’s power.”
He noted that “the constitution says it clearly that gold is the property of the Republic of Ghana and the president is vested with that power on behalf and in trust of the people. So the gold, according to the constitution, has to be protected and looked after by the president.”
Galamsey has destroyed several water bodies resulting in them drying up.
This has resulted in the pollution of water the Ghana Water Company Limited, treats and supplies to the populace.
“So any chief who happens to grant land to any galamseyer to do galamsey is first in violation of the law. Most of what you hear is not chiefs granting lands, it’s individual farmers who are approached by these galamseyers to buy their land and then they proceed to inform the chief that ‘the Minerals Commission has issued me a licence to come and do this, and, so, these persons have granted me the land’, and, so, they give the chief, what we call drink money.”
He added that the only way to stop the menace is for the government to enforce the laws.
Minister’s reacts to galamsey
The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu has cautioned illegal miners to stop their activities or face prosecution.
He had earlier indicated that his outfit will start using drones to augment its efforts to effectively combat illegal mining to ensure the protection of the country’s water bodies and the environment.
He said “we will not take things lightly because we believe that China and India are the sources of funding for these illegal miners; so we are dealing with the root cause of the menace.”