Don’t sideline us – Chief to gov't
The Omanhene of Mpohor Traditional Area in the Western Region, Osabarima Kwaw Entsie II, has bemoaned the situation where exploration licenses are given to mining companies to commence operations without the knowledge of traditional authorities.
According to the Omanhene, “when they find out that there is gold in your land, they just go to the Minerals Commission, pick the license, drive into the area and begin exploration works.”
Osabarima Kwaw Entsie II was contributing to a discussion on exploration, development and production of minerals and oil and gas in Takoradi over the weekend as part of this year’s Africa Regional Extractive Industries Knowledge Hub Summer School.
The two-week residential programme which pooled a diverse set of participants from countries in Africa representing governments, Parliaments, civil society, the media, academia and National Oil Companies is under the aegis of the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) and German International Development Agency, GIZ.
The Omanhene disclosed that he had repeatedly petitioned government and the Minerals Commission on the practice and was looking forward to some positive feedback next year.
“You can’t go into someone’s room and take occupancy at a portion without knocking at the person’s door,” he charged.
Osabarima Entsie II who is also a member of the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) and one of the participants in the Summer School also alleged that some mining companies after procuring exploration licenses had the habit of bribing their way into communities to commence work.
“Some chiefs are bought; they wanted to buy me off against my people; they requested for my passport, promising to send me overseas for six months and a lot more, but I declined all the offers,” the Omanhene revealed.
Osabarima Entsie II, urged the authorities at the Minerals Commission to involve them (the chiefs) in exploration projects of mining companies, stressing that “ there should be more collaboration between the traditional authorities, the district assemblies and the mining companies to avoid conflicts that arise out of extraction of mineral resources.”