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Regional News of Friday, 21 February 2020

Source: Dailyguidenetwork.com

Odaho residents fight chief


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The Manhyia Palace has pledged to consider a petition of Odaho residents who face the prospect of gold mining activities at their doorstep after issuance of a license to Heritage Imperial Company, a small-scale mining firm, to conduct prospecting in a forest reserve.

The mining company has begun preparation to prospect gold in the Apamprama forest reserve in the Amansie South District of the Ashanti Region, with 36 acre-land tree plantation expected to go waste, besides several hectares of cocoa farms to be destroyed.

Residents of Odaho, who live close to the forest reserve, say their village will change dramatically for the worse if mining activities are allowed to go on in the area.

On Monday, they petitioned the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, against the plan to undertake prospecting operation in the forest reserve, accusing their chief, Nana Agyei Kumi II, of conniving with the local assembly to destroy their habitat.

Speaking under an action group called Odaho Concerned Citizens the people said neither the district assembly nor the mining company had sought their views on an “impact assessment” which considered the effects the mining activities could have on the community, particularly on water bodies which served as sources of potable water for them.

Objection

Amos Tawiah, spokesperson for the residents, in an interview, said they were best qualified to give a response as to the likely consequences the mining of the forest would have on local life, pointing out that the cultural character and the environment of the area could not be protected if mining activities were allowed in the forest.

He, on behalf of the others, vowed to resist any move to mine in the forest reserve, indicating that their lives are dependent on the forest and that it is their chief who is bent on sacrificing the community’s interest for his personal gain.

Chief of Staff of Manhyia Palace, Kofi Badu, who received the petition on behalf of the Asantehene, assured Odaho residents of Otumfuo’s consideration to the petition.

He urged them to remain calm and wait upon the overlord of Asanteman to work on the petition and the issues which had been raised in thereof.

Meanwhile, Chief of Odaho is reported to have dismissed the claims by the residents, insisting on his innocence for the accusation of connivance with the Heritage Imperial Company to rip off the forest.

So far, Heritage Imperial Company has been granted a prospecting license in the Apamprama forest for a period of three years, which will end in 2021.

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