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General News of Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Source: todayonline.com

Arrest and punish foreign galamseyers - Papa Kwesi Nduom

President and chairman of Groupe Nduom (GN) has called for the arrest and deportation of Chinese and Indian nationals engaged in illegal mining, popularly referred to as galamsey.

According to Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom, insofar as these nationals respect the environmental laws of their countries, they must do same in this country. Ghanaians, he said, love their environment.

“So if these foreign nationals love their countries and would love to protect their environment and laws, why should we as Ghanaians allow them to come and destroy our rivers and lands? It is not India or Chinese government that will stop or deport them from Ghana but rather Ghana government,” he indicated.

Dr. Nduom made the call on Ghana, Great and Strong, a non-partisan interactive programme broadcast every Saturday from 7:00 p.m.,–8:00 p.m., on GN media outlets spread across the country.

The programme has chalked 5 years since its inception in 2012.

Speaking on the topic: “Galamsey, Our Land Our future,” Dr. Nduom explained that “I love Indians and Chinese, particularly the way they protect their countries’ way of life and environment. It is not all Indians or Chinese nationals in Ghana who do galamsey, but those who are actively involved in these illegal activities must be stopped.”

The President of GN said Ghana’s laws are made to be respected and adhered to.

He lamented the situation where citizens flout the country’s laws with impunity.

Dr. Nduom likened such a situation to a leaderless country.

He could not fathom why some Indians and Chinese would be allowed into the country only to destroy “our livelihood when Ghanaians wouldn’t even dare and definitely would not be allowed into those countries much less to engage in illegal mining.”

He said that it is common knowledge in Ghana that those behind the financing and acquisition of the heavy equipment being used by galamsey operators are mostly the Chinese and Indians.

Against this backdrop, Dr. Nduom advised Ghanaians against misconstruing small scale mining and galamsey.

In his estimation, the Small Scale Mining Law PNDC Law 218 (1987) legalises operations of small scale mining and the Mining and Minerals Act 703 of the 1992 Constitution clearly spells out procedures for the issuance of licenses for small scale firms.

Small scale mining license, he said, are only issued to Ghanaians who are 18 years and above, adding that even in such circumstances they are subject to conditions such as a maximum of 1.2 hectares of land allocated to one person or a group of persons not exceeding four (4) in number.

“So you must be a Ghanaian and you must be allocated certain acres of land before you are given the license,” he further expatiated.

He urged Ghanaians to take the Mining and Minerals Act seriously and adhere to it.

He wondered whether a Ghanaian [be it a carpenter, trader or a galamseyers] could travel to India with the intention of going to engage in galamsey because there is deposit of gold or coal in that country.

“…so why should Chinese and Indians come to Ghana and purchase these heavy equipment just to destroy our rivers? Who gave them the permission to come here to engage in galamsey?” he asked.

“Are our leaders so blind that when a Chinese is coming we can’t look through their eyes and ask what he or she is coming to do here and who invited him or her?”

Dr. Nduom was also not happy about the whereabouts of one Madam Aisha, a well-known Asian woman, who he said engaged in galamsey and destroyed the environment including water bodies in the Amansie West District of the Ashanti Region.

“How can we survive without water and other water bodies, land to cultivate maize, cocoa, cassava when if all these water bodies are destroyed?”

He partially agreed with those who argued that the youth must be given jobs, but quickly pointed out that jobs seeking should not destroy the country’s natural resources.

“I can only talk about it, or tell people, the president, ministers responsible for the interior or environment. They are people we have entrusted them with power. Let them use the powers for our benefit. That is what we need and that’s what we want…. If this country is managed well we will have children who will go to school and when they go to school and come out, we will have jobs for them to do,” he averred.