A former Presiding Bishop of the Methodist church of Ghana, Most Reverend Dr Robert Aboagye-Mensah has challenged the government to sustain the recent efforts and gains made in the fight against illegal mining (galamsey) in order to save the environment from further degradation.
He said government should pursue both Ghanaians and foreigners engaged in such illegal operations without looking back on its shoulders to ensure that issues pertaining to galamsey would be settled once and for all.
Most Rev Dr Aboagye-Mensah observed that all meaningful Ghanaians were solidly behind the government in its pursuits in this matter and if the chance to stop galamsey was allowed to slip by, Ghana would go into another phase environmental degradation which would be worse than we are witnessing now.
He was speaking in an interview with Graphic Online after a thanksgiving and valedictory service organised in his honour by the Sunyani Diocese of the church at Chiraa on Sunday.
Most Rev Dr Aboagye-Mensah, who hails from Asuakwaa, a small village near Chiraa in the Brong Ahafo Region was the Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church of Ghana, from 2003-2009 and retired from active service last year.
The thanksgiving and valedictory service was therefore organised to give thanks to God and congratulate the retired presiding bishop for bringing honour to his village and the Sunyani Diocese of the church.
Foreigners in galamsey
Most Rev Dr Aboagye-Mensah said it was however unfortunate that an impression was being created as if it was only foreigners who were involved in illegal mining in the country.
“Let us work to expose the so-called big men who are behind the surge in illegal mining which has led to massive environmental degradation across the country”, he stated.
He said the so-called “big men” who were the brain behind the galamsey canker were as guilty as young Ghanaians as well as foreigners who had been hired to engage in such illegal business and should be pursued if government really meant to stop galamsey operation.
Earlier in his sermon, Most Rev Dr Aboagye-Mensah urged Christians to do away with the worries of the world and relentlessly strive in their service to God and humanity in order to reach their goals as Christians.
He thanked the church for offering him the chance to serve his maker at the highest levels and called on minister of God to do away with material gains to the detriment of focusing on their call.
The Bishop of the Sunyani Diocese of the Methodist Church, Right Reverend Kofi Asare-Bediako called for collaboration between the church and the state to promote the well-being of the people.
“Both the church and the state stand for development and we should therefore come together and play our respective roles to uplift the people from spiritual and socio-economic deprivation”, he stated.
He commended Most Rev Dr Aboagye-Mensah for his dedicated service and urged him to continue to offer his service to God and the church even in retirement until he is called to his maker.
For his part, the Chief of Asuakwaa, Nana Kwasi Yeboah thanked Most Rev Dr Aboagye-Mensah for the number of developmental projects he had brought to the town and how he had continuously marketed the area over the years.
“He had not shy away from making the world know about Asuakwaa notwithstanding the height he attained”, he said adding “he had over the years solicited support for the development his ‘Small London’”.
Besides becoming the Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church, Most Rev Dr Aboagye-Mensah held various positions and served on several committees in Ghana and outside the country.
He is a former General Secretary of the Christian Council of Ghana, former Vice President of the World Council of Churches and Executive Director of Mindolo Ecumenical Foundation, Kitwe, Zambia.