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Opinions Tue, 28 Jun 2016

The Chiefs must sleep alongside goat thieves at Nsawam

“Every mineral in its natural state in, under or upon land in Ghana, rivers, streams, water-courses throughout the country, the exclusive economic zone and an area covered by the territorial sea or continental shelf is the property of the Republic and is vested in the President in trust for the people of Ghana (Minerals Act 2006).”

In practice, the 2006 Minerals Act is emphatic on the ownership of the natural resources. The government of Ghana has the absolute ownership.

Consequently, our chiefs do not have the right to allocate mining lands to individuals who are not in receipt of mining concessions. Nonetheless, some Chiefs are in the habit of conniving with illegal miners from China to despoil our natural resources and heedlessly destroying our lands and water bodies.

Apparently, our Chiefs are supposed to develop their communities. Nevertheless, they are seen to be doing the contrary. Sadly, they have turned destroyers.

“A Chief is responsible for the daily administration of the traditional area for its advancement and the growth of its inhabitants. A chief’s ultimate function is the maintenance of law and order as a prerequisite for the growth of the community and the advancement of the people in all spheres of life” (Odotei, 2010).

Ironically, however, the uncaring and unpatriotic Chiefs would often allocate lands to the illegal miners, knowing it is unlawful for any individual to sanction small-scale mining . Needless to point out that the Ghana Minerals Commission has the exclusive right to do so.

So, it is rather infelicitous for our Chiefs and their subordinates to connive with the Chinese illegal miners to steal our natural resources.

To be quite honest, I cannot holdback my arousing disgust towards the ‘enemies of the state’-apologies to Anas.

To put it bluntly, those inexorable chiefs are suffering from inferiority complex. Otherwise, how on earth would they assist illegal immigrants to forcibly dig our natural resources, terrorise the rural dwellers and then wreck the environment?

Per the Constitution of Ghana, no citizen of Ghana is above the law. Yes, the Constitution is candid, however in my opinion, the enforcement of the laws leaves much to be desired.

For, it seems that some Ghanaians are above our laws. The laws were not enacted for them.

If some Chiefs are indeed giving out lands for illegal mining without the prior knowledge of the Ghana Minerals Commission, the question one may ask then is: ‘Why no incompliant Chiefs have since been brought to book? Are they above the law?

Puzzlingly, the uncaring Chiefs are colluding with the ‘criminals’ to steal our natural resources. Thus, it would only be fair and proper if such offending Chiefs are prosecuted accordingly.

We cannot and must not allow some obstreperous Chiefs who do not have the nation at heart enrich themselves at the expense of the rest of Ghanaians.

Someone should please remind our indocile Chiefs that respect is earned, but not to be seen as a God given entitlement.

So, our hitherto well-respected Chiefs must revert to their old and discreet ways and then continue to earn our respect. For, their waywardness will not earn them such respect.

Let us also remind our Chiefs that they may have rights over the lands, but they do not own the natural resources underneath the lands. Therefore, they have no right to sell the lands to illegal miners and assist them to forcibly take our natural resources.

In any case, it is incumbent on the regulatory bodies to repudiate such abhorrent actions by the wayward and unpatriotic Chiefs.

And, we should remind the authorities that if our Chiefs persist with their waywardness, their befitting place of abode should be ‘Nsawam Prisons’.

K. Badu, UK.
Columnist: Badu, K