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Mahama’s Kyebi is headquarters of galamsey ‘unfair statement’ – Okyenhene

Mahama NBS John Dramani.png John Dramani Mahama

Mon, 20 Jun 2022 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin, the leader of the Akyem-Abuakwa or Okyeman, has said it was unfair for the former President, John Dramani Mahama, to describe Kyebi as the headquarters of galamsey.

Speaking on Asaase radio's ‘Sunday Night’ show, Okyehene said, he had the chance to tell the former President about how unhappy he felt with that description and he [Mahama] apologised unreservedly.

“First of all, I had the chance of telling the former President that it was an unfair statement. I told him that it was an unfair statement; it is just like giving a dog a bad name and hanging it. I made him understand that and he did come here and apologise.

“The point is, Article 257(6) [of the Constitution] places all the natural resources in their [central government] hands for protection for future generations. They need to protect them. We [the chiefs] do not have coercive force. I tried to use my people to drive them away and we were facing danger every day and people didn’t know," he noted.

Okyenhene said, he sometimes shares tears when he hears people lying that he is engaged in galamsey.

“At one time in my relationship with the then Chief of Defence Staff, I begged him. I said it [galamsey] was getting out of hand and we should probably organise some of the military people to come here [Kyebi]. They did and even a week the whole thing has been shut down. A week later they [the politicians] called them [military] and said ‘don’t you know it’s an election year?

“So I’ve shed tears of anger and frustration where I sit about this and to the point that somebody will even say that I was engaged in galamsey. My answer to them is, I own all the lands, if I want to do galamsey, why would I want to go and steal it? I would go to the Minerals Commission and say I’m going to my land just give me the license.

“So the pain I shed was people not speaking the truth; lying about it all over,” Okyenhene observed.

He added, “The point now is, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo had the courage to speak to it and diminish the issues of galamsey in this country. He may have lost some votes but you know what, it’s more protection of voters than votes."

When asked if the war on galamsey has had an impact, Okyenhene responded in the affirmative.

“Yes, it has [had an impact] and I know that for sure. The Birim river now stays clear around here so, I know it has some positive impact,” Okyenhene stressed.

Okyenhene, when speaking about the ban on mining said, there is a need to minimise mining and have the appetite to grow domestic tourism to develop the country.

“I think we need to minimise the country’s love for mining because mining has not done too well for us here in Ghana so we need to minimise that and grow our potential market for tourism. We need to build people who control what they eat … so we need to teach our people about organic farming and let them plant their own food … and make sure that the food that comes to the dining table was well-planted and has no toxic chemicals that will kill them.

Regarding mining of bauxite in the Atewa Forest, the Okyenhene further stated, “I have made a statement that we should stop mining altogether in this country or if we can for about three, four years and it all there for future generations. We don’t need to mine everything we’ve seen.

“Future generations should come and find that we left them so resources…I am praying, as they’ve told us that there’s not too much destruction that there are going to do to the habitat and the species that we find in Atewa … whether we environmentalists believe it or not, it is up to what future generations would do."

Background

After flying in a helicopter to ascertain for himself the extent of damage caused to the land and water bodies of Akyem-Abuakwa by activities of illegal miners, otherwise known as 'galamsayers', former President John Dramani Mahama in 2014 said, the area was the headquarters of illegal mining in the country.

"I flew all the way to this place and when you monitor the extent of damage caused to the land and our water you will feel sorry for yourselves.’’

President Mahama who expressed shock at what he saw when he flew to Kyebi from the Affram Plains district said the activities of the illegal miners were an impediment to efforts to protect water bodies.

"Hitherto you could drink from the Birim River, nowadays anyone who dares drink the Birim risks losing his life.’’

He later apologised to Okyenhene stating that “The sight was heart-throbbing…so I made the statement because of what I saw.”

Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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