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Opinions of Monday, 15 May 2017

Columnist: Alhassan Andani

Is Mr. Minister an illegal miner?

For some time now in the media is the campaign against illegal mining. Ghanaians are political footballers as they always like to play politics with everything even when the Pontiff of the Catholic Church is involved.

However, it is crystal clear that this fight against ‘galamsey’ is a fight for every concerned and discerning Ghanaian irrespective of our different political ideologies.

The dangers pose by this trade on the environment cannot in any way be swept under the carpet. Experts have revealed that Ghana will import water in the future if this menace is not nip in the bud - in addition to the toothpicks we already import, this will surely add insults to injuries.

Some agricultural connoisseurs also opined that the availability of fertile lands to produce food for the consumption of the many mouths in Ghana is near to scarcity if measures are not rollout to arrest the situation.

Having said this, it is incontestable fact that an illegal miner does not care about the future. He thinks tomorrow is only today and that tomorrow will never come. He doesn’t care about Ghana’s future as far as he mines illegally, our precious mineral in exchange of United States dollars or Euros.

He is very happy polluting our water bodies and destroying our fertile lands despite the fact if he becomes thirsty in the course of mining, it is water that he will use in quenching his thirst and not the diesel in the excavator. An illegal miner is someone who never wants the future prosperity of any body.

The minister of lands and natural resources, John Peter Amewu, have tackled the problem by unleashing all the arsenals on the miners. I think he is the minister who didn’t get a rest after his appointment. He has won my respect on that score. I pray for divine guidance for him as he deployed even more ultrapractical strategies to stamp out these miscreants with their decadent activities.

Let’s zoom into the main reason that triggered this publication and forget about the galamsey grammar. Worthy of discussion for some time now is the closure of the Ghana school of survey and mapping (GSSM). Students came one morning for lectures only to realize their dear institution was under lock and key. This left the students truly astounded.

It has caused dismay and sparked an outcry within the student fraternity. The various student unions have registered their displeasure by way of issuing statements to the ministry, thus, ministry of lands and natural resources. I had the opportunity to listen to the tirade of the SRC president of the school. He was frustrated in his delivery and I was dejected and mind boggled. Grapevines had it that the land on which the school is located has been given to a property developer to build a shopping mall. How can that be so?

This is highly unacceptable and must be condemn in no uncertain terms. Imagine one day we just wake up to the news that the premier university of Ghana, legon and the pride of the north, university for development studies in Tamale have all been closed down with a flimsy excuse that they have been given to private developers to build shopping malls.

Even if it is about building a shopping mall as large and beautiful as the world trade center, this cannot fly in the face of common sense. It will be shot down! Or it is because the word “university” is not found in the name of the institution? Mr. Minister, your deafening silence on the matter is not helpful.

Speak out like you are breaking news about the arrest of illegal miners from a galamsey site. Give us a reason for the closure and never come with a well-rehearsed defense for the shopping mall. Show us where you are relocating them if truly their asset is no more theirs. This is about people investments for tomorrow. This is about people’s future and as such must be handled with care. Education is the key to success and education is the best investment for tomorrow as they always say.

Grapevine also had it that the institution is closed because it has no accreditation. I felt scandalized as a Ghanaian upon hearing this. How come a school exist from 1920 to 2017 without accreditation? Outsiders must not hear this. The national accreditation board is the state institution responsible for this. They should let us know the truths in this matter.

If it turns out that the school really do not have an accreditation, then shame on the accreditation board and those working in that institution should be fired. Where are the lecturers of the school and the rector? They should bury their heads in shame if they are in support of this current development. We want to know them. We want to see them fight for their own.

Let me ceased this golden opportunity as a student to fight for my colleagues by way of appealing to all stakeholders to find an amicably solution to this GSSM impasse. Lands commission, tertiary education council and the accreditation board must corroborate their efforts towards this end.

To Honourable John Peter Amewu; it is only an illegal miner who doesn’t care about the future of others and the way you abhor the act, I don’t think you are one. It is only an illegal miner who is selfish and the way you are fighting for Ghana’s collective interest; I don’t think you are selfish.

This is not force majeure; it can be solved. Please do the best within your capacity to solve this problem so that when we historically remember that Guggisberg gave us Ghana school of survey and mapping, you will be affectionately remembered of your fight against the disappearance of Ghana school of survey and mapping from the lists of tertiary institutions in Ghana.

The writer is a student studying BSc computing-with-accounting at UDS, Navrongo campus.