The First Deputy Speaker and Member of Parliament (MP) for Bekwai constituency, Joe Osei Owusu has said that the behaviour of Ghanaians towards illegal mining is preventing government from winning the fight against illegal mining.
Speaking on Pure FM’s Morning Drive on Monday, February 17, he told show host, Kwame Adinkra that it’s impossible to win the fight without attitudinal change.
“Akufo Addo took over a ‘galamsey’ polluted water bodies. That was what was handed over to him. Ghanaians are the same people in the business. and the president asked that we put an end to it. When you sack them from one area, they move to another.
“They even hide foreign nationals and their equipment. Later, they claim government has failed in the fight. How do you expect government to win the fight with such attitude,?” he queried.
He called on Ghanaians to distinguish between galamsey and legal mining.
“I think we’re confusing two things when it comes to issues relating to talking galamsey. Government never said we shouldn’t mine; we have laws in this country, go register your company and take your concession. Under no circumstance will a concession be given near water bodies. So those mining in water bodies don’t have licences and are murderess. They don’t have any legal right to do that. They don’t care about the health implications of polluting our water bodies. Because they’re financially sound and can hire excavators, they go ahead and ignore government directives,” he said.
According to him, government through the inter ministerial committee on illegal mining has provided oversight on a number of activities to fight the menace.
Commenting on alleged involvement of some government officials in illegal mining, he stated emphatically that:
“More often than not, people tell me my party people are involved in illegal mining and so on…I tell them those involved are your party people and my party people. We’ve loads of gold in our land…it’s lawful to mine but go through the legal procedure, that’s all,” he added.
Sounding optimistic, he said ‘the president’s resolve haven’t changed but with time we’ll win the fight’.