The Chiefs and elders within the Atewa enclave have distanced themselves from a demonstration organised by members of the Concerned Citizens of the Atewa Landscape to protest against the government’s plan to mine bauxite in the Atewa forest reserve.
The youth, on Tuesday, embarked on the march from Sagyimase to Kyebi to say no to the mining of bauxite.
They claim the forest, which provides drinking water to five million people and harbours over 100 wildlife species, would be destroyed if the government goes on with its plans to mine its bauxite.
But in an interesting twist of events, the chiefs and elders, on the other hand, have given their blessing to the government to mine the mineral.
In a statement issued by the chiefs and their elders, they expressed confidence that with the birth of the Ghana Integrated Aluminum Development Corporation (GIADEC), the government would come up with environmentally-friendly and sustainable ways in developing the bauxite reserve.
“We must emphasize that we are not aware of any chief, or community that is against the bauxite mining but rather, the consensus is for us to continue engaging the government to ensure the project is implemented in a responsible and sustainable manner,” the chiefs said in a statement.
The chiefs in their statement said “We also believe; for over hundred years, the forest has remained a reserve awaiting a President like His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, who has proven to Ghanaians, he is a President of possibilities and will ensure value is added to our resources to achieve his vision of a Ghana Beyond Aid agenda”.
They praised the establishment of GIADEC as a useful entity not to destroy resources but to develop them for the benefit of all Ghanaians.
“We will like to state that, we the undersigned and Nananom living on the fringes of the reserve disassociate ourselves from the demonstration organized by the concerned citizens of the Atewa landscape. We call on Ghanaians living home and abroad to remember that Ghana beyond aid can only be achieved if we allow the Government through our supervision as citizens to develop our resources competitively and sustainably through innovative ways,” the statement ended.
Read the full statement below
THE CHIEFS AND ELDERS WITHIN THE ATEWA ENCLAVE RESPOND TO THE MISREPRESENTATION BY THE CONCERNED CITIZENS OF ATEWA LANDSCAPE’S DEMONSTRATION AGAINST BAUXITE MINING
We, the chiefs and community members living in the fringes of the Atewa Forest Reserve, do not appreciate the efforts by the above-mentioned group in publicising their beliefs and fears concerning the proposed bauxite mining within the Atewa Forest Reserve as representative of the people of Atewa.
More so, we are surprised the organisers did not involve the main communities that will be impacted directly by the bauxite mining activities as stated in their press release and neither did they consult with Nananom, yet they are claiming all the people within the fringes of the Atewa Forest Reserve are in support of the demonstration.
We want to make it clear to the organisers, and their supporters that they cannot force their wishes on the people of Atewa, and that we have had consultations with GIADEC and are optimistic the bauxite mining within the Atewa range will not be as reckless as being portrayed by them, on the contrary, we are willing to work with Government to achieve his vision of developing an Integrated Aluminum Industry in Ghana.
It must be noted, the demonstration was staged on our blind side, and we are aware the demonstrators are not indigenes, rather they were transported from West Akyem and Kwaebibirem Districts, which do not make up the entire communities surrounding the reserve.
Again, the organisers are saying that they want the place to be earmarked for a national park, a view which is contrary to that of the people of Atewa.
We must emphasize that we are not aware of any chief, or community that is against the bauxite mining but rather, the consensus is for us to continue engaging the government to ensure the project is implemented in a responsible and sustainable manner.
GIADEC, an entity established by the government to develop bauxite deposits in the country is currently engaging with us and has explained that they would ensure that our major river sources will not be affected.
For over a hundred years, the Atewa Forest has remained a reserve but lately, the forest is fast losing its biodiversity potential due to illegal logging, indiscriminate tree felling and lack of effective management plans for the reserve.
We call on Ghanaians living home and abroad to remember that Ghana beyond aid can only be achieved if we allow the Government through our supervision as citizens to develop our resources competitively and sustainably through innovative ways.
We the under listed chiefs hereby signed this statement on behalf of the other chiefs and community elders of; Appam, Afisa, Ahwenease, Adadientem, Pano, Adukrom, Sagyimase, Bunso, Nsutem, Mampong, and Osino.
Osabarima Marfo Kwabrane – Kyebihene/Abontendomhene – 024 313 9338
Nana Oye Gyau – Asiakwa Amankrado – 024 626 5052
Baffour Kyere Koranteng – Asikam – Amankrado – 024 804 4884
Osabarima Okogyeaman – Kyebi – Apapamhene