22 May 2017

Ghana: Galamsey Got Out of Hand Under Mahama - Rev. Prof. Martey

Former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church Rev Prof Emmanuel Martey says it was in former President Mahama's administration that the illegal mining popularly called galamsey got out of hand.

Prof. Martey says President Mahama assured him his government was winning the fight against galamasey but things got worse.

Speaking to the media at the official opening of the Koforidua Branch of C4 Homeopathic hospital, the vociferous man of God said, "it is too early to say that the present administration is not doing well.

"In fact, it's because they have come, and thanks to the media also assisting, everybody knows that galamsey is evil which ought to be eliminated. I don't want to go into politics but it was in Mahama's administration that this thing became worst."

"I met Mahama, we sat down and I complained about this galamsey. He told me that they've been able to identify the Ghanaian who was bringing the Chinese to Ghana so they will deal with it. But rather, things got worse," he disclosed.

He said it is too early to criticize the Akufo-Addo administration for the menace.

President Nana Akufo-Addo has said the solution to dealing with the destruction caused by illegal miners known as 'galamseyers' has to be comprehensive.

He believes the "piecemeal" approach that has characterised efforts to end the menace have not been effective.

"We need a comprehensive policy which may even involve legislation," he said in a stern voice.

Ghana is reeling from the effects of illegal mining and weak regulation in the mining sector. These miners adopt destructive strategies to extract gold from the bellies of the earth including the use of cyanide which pollutes nearby water bodies.

The Tano River in the Brong Ahafo Region has dried up for the first time in 40 years, a development that has been blamed on illegal mining. The Ankobrah River in the Western Region and Brim River in the Eastern region have been muddied due to persistent mining in them.

Officials of the Ghana Water Company have served notice that the country might import water from its neighbours by 2020 if something is not done about it.

Outraged by the repeated reports of destructive activityes of illegal miners, the Lands and Forestry Minister, John Peter Amewu has launched a campaign to bring the situation under control.

Prof. Martey cautioned the President to ensure the punitive measures are applied to eliminate the practice in the near future.

"So if the government will sit up and then selflessly manage our country, this galamsey business will be solved within a twinkle of an eye. Let the laws of the land work, if it means a minister who is caught breaking the law, he should face the consequence," he added.

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