Madina MP kicks against military deployment to quell illegal mining in water bodies

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The Member of Parliament (MP) for Medina Constituency, Lawyer Francis Xavier-Sosu, has expressed criticism of government’s efforts to tackle the small scale illegal mining activities endangering the environment, describing the government as not thinking out of the box.

On April 28, 2021, the Minister for information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, issued a communique in which it was indicated that some 200 Ghana Armed Forces personnel have been deployed in an operation to “remove persons and logistics involved in mining in Ghana’s water bodies,”—an operation which began on the Pra river in the Central and Western regions—but the MP, in a statement issued on same day, described the action as a false start.

“The just ended Stakeholders dialogue was a confirmation of the failed approach adopted by the Government in the past four years. We hoped that from the said Conference, new methodologies of dealing with the menace would have emerged for adoption. Sadly, the Statement issued by the Minister of Information conveying the resolutions of the Stakeholders forum as a way of dealing with the menace is a false start,” Xavier-Sosu criticised.

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He advanced: “The statement at best is hollow and lacks clarity as to the direction of these new operations. The content of the statement suggests Government is involved in business as usual and does not provide any critical out of the box solution to addressing the challenge.”

Elaborating on the issues in an interview with Angel FM on the Anɔpa Bɔfoɔ morning show hosted by Kwamina Sam Biney, the MP said for instance, that “the Operation Vanguard process adopted over the years to stop the galamseyers is the very same one used now, except this time the number of men deployed to the sites has been increased.”

The Lawyer, who in Parliament serves as Deputy Ranking Member on the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, also noted that the Akufo-Addo-led government over the years has not been transparent and sincere with the public in its dealings on the subject matter—a reason why Ghanaians do not have confidence in the government.

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“For citizens to be fully confident of the Government’s fight against galamsey, Government must report fully to Ghanaians on the activities of the Operation Vanguard Taskforce and indicate to Ghanaians the whereabout of the missing excavators.

“If the Akufo Addo-led Government want the full support of Ghanaians in the fight against galamsey, there must be transparent and accountable and be willing to fully disclose who the interest holders are in all these galamsey sites,” he said.

He therefore urged the government to “walk the talk” and tackle the menace with a clearer direction.

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