It is an SOS message! Galamsey activities have corrupted our farmlands, forests and water bodies: “We must end galamsey to save our nation!”
The Religious Leaders gathered in Accra this week to hold a press conference to send out this message. Their intention and actions are completely non-partisan politics; they are only citizens who are engaged in a godly and patriotic SOS call. The Religious Leaders “are deeply concerned about the devastation that illegal mining (galamsey) has caused, and continue to cause our nation, as well as the associated negative health and socio-economic effects it brings”.
“Our ecosystem is being destroyed irreversibly”. It is like we have an ecological terrorist attack being inflicted on the nation. And the Religious Leaders want the President of the Republic of Ghana, Parliament, the Judiciary, the National House of Chiefs, and all citizens and residents in Ghana to respond.
The Religious Leaders presented the following eight primary, and necessary, action points:
1. We are calling for a week of fasting and prayers to pray for change of hearts and for God’s mercy upon our nation for the destruction we have caused the environment.
2. We call for an IMMEDIATE BAN on all small-scale mining. We have taken notice that many groups or companies hide behind a legal licence to wreak havoc to the environment. To that end, we call for an immediate ban on all forms of small-scale mining, whether licensed or not, until a workable and satisfactory road map has been established to ensure responsible mining in our country.
3. We call for an immediate national stakeholder’s dialogue under the auspices of religious leaders (while the ban is in place) to dialogue with all political parties, mining technocrats, the media, traditional leaders and all stakeholders to commit to a non-partisan National Strategy to sustainably deal with this national canker before we sink as a nation.
4. We call on government to swiftly arrest and prosecute all those involved in galamsey activities in Ghana without fear or favour, to serve as a deterrent to others. Those who desire to be rich at the expense of the future of our country should face the full rigours of the law.
5. With immediate effect, we call on religious leaders to wear red armbands to show our deep concern for the destruction of our environment through galamsey.
6. We call for the arrest and immediate prosecution of any chief who permits galamsey activities within his jurisdiction for any reason.
7. We give ULTIMATUM to metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives (MMDCEs) in the country to ensure that water bodies that have been polluted because of illegal mining activities, within their sphere of governance, are clean by June 30, 2023. The Religious Leaders in the country are ready to mobilise our legal team to go to court on this matter and have MMDCEs who have allowed such menace in their jurisdiction to be removed from office.
8. We have realised that galamsey is preventing the youth from going to school. We call on all well-meaning Ghanaians to immediately report any child of school going age who is involved in galamsey activities in their communities to the appropriate authorities and also to their respective religious leaders.
The Religious Leaders concluded by saying: “We assure the citizenry of our nation that we are committed to leading a sustained national moral crusade and public education in partnership with all other stakeholders in our various Churches and Mosques across the country to appeal to the moral conscience of Ghanaians for a change in attitude towards the environment.
The author is a consultant in authentic Christian Spirituality and Discipleship and former CEO of Scripture Union.