The Government Must Support The Okyenhene

Tue, 27 Jul 2010 Source: Yeboah, Kwaku

The Okyenhene Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin on his ascension of the Ofori Panin stool has fought relentlessly against environmental degradation in his traditional area and Ghana as whole but it appears his efforts are not yielding the much expected results though his traditional area richly endowed with mineral resources continue to wallow in illegal galamsey activities.

In my opinion the Okyenhene has set the pace for all traditional leaders whose traditional areas are bedevilled with illegal mining activities but I think the fight against illegal galamsey is one that is too big for the Okyenhene alone and it is about time the government of the day complemented his efforts to achieve this course. One would wonder why the government have not supported the efforts of the Okyeman King by arresting and prosecuting perpetrators of these activities that have led to wanton destruction of water bodies, green vegetation, and degradation of farmlands among others over the years. It therefore appears as if it is the sole responsibility of the Okyenhene to fight against this illegal mining canker in okyeman. Most of us can recount the number of times the Okyenhene in his public engagements reiterated the need to protect the environment and how he has established the okyeman mining task force to counter the nefarious activities of illegal miners.

Some people have sought to create the impression that the Okyenhene is entirely against mining in his traditional area which could not have been the case as he has always supported legal mining operations that is not detrimental to the environment. However in as much as the Okyenhene is not against mining and even supports the idea of mining as a source of livelihood for some of the youth in his traditional area he would not allow the activities of illegal miners in akyem abuakwa to destroy the Birim river, which is not only the very source of the gold and diamonds in okyeman but also an important source of drinking water for residents in some parts of akyem abuakwa. Other comments have also sought to create the impression that Osagyefuo has only intensified his campaign against illegal mining with the inception of President Mills led NDC government in a bid to make the government of the day unpopular which is also not true. We would recall that attempts by the erstwhile President Kufour led NPP government to explore and mine bauxite deposits in the Atewa range forest was highly resisted by the Okyenhene. This goes to confirm that Amoatia Ofori Panin had been against improper mining practices not only now but since his enstoolment, so people who have gone political with his calls and efforts to curb illegal mining in okyeman should rethink their stand on this issue.

In my opinion the Okyenhene deserves commendation rather than condemnation, after all there are many traditional rulers whose areas are bedevilled with wanton destruction of water bodies through mining activities whether legal or illegal, how many of them have come out to condemn let alone set up a task force to fight against this illegal mining activities that destroys the very environment which serves as a habitat for all of us. Recent attacks on the okyeman task force should be condemned by all well-meaning Ghanaians. I would urge the government to arrest and punish these illegal miners who through their illegal mining activities destroy the environment to deter others. We should also note that illegal galamsey activities do not only destroy the environment but also put the lives of these illegal miners and every Ghanaian at risk.

By Kwaku Yeboah,


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Columnist: Yeboah, Kwaku