Ghana’s fight against illegal mining, otherwise called galamsey, is not a witch-hunt of Chinese but a fight to stop wrongdoing and save the environment, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said.
He said the laws which criminalised illegal mining would be enforced, regardless of the nationality of the individual or group involved.
"We don't have any problem with Chinese nationals. We are not targeting any person or group, but what we want is for our laws to work. The laws of Ghana must be enforced, whether you are a foreigner or a Ghanaian," the President said at a ceremony to introduce the new Chief of Obomeng, Nana Effah Opinamang III, at Kwahu Obomeng in the Eastern Region last Saturday.
The President was responding to a request by the Obomenghene to the government to address the galamsey menace that had destroyed the environment in some parts of the region and the country.
The event was meant to officially introduce Nana Opinamang to the people of Obomeng after his installation two years ago.
As part of the ceremony, Nana Opinamang was carried in a palanquin and paraded through the streets of Obomeng.
The streets of Obomeng, Obo and some parts of Mpraeso were decorated with the chief’s banners and pictures.
President Akufo-Addo assured the people that the determination of the government to fight illegal mining was not a fluke, adding that his administration was committed to dealing with the galamsey menace once and for all.
"I will be meeting the sector minister to discuss the galamsey menace extensively and, hopefully, in the coming days you will see the changes," he said.
Agenda for Obomeng
Outlining some aspects of the government’s development agenda, President Nana Akufo-Addo assured the people of Kwahu that the government had programmed a number of projects to transform the area.
"My government has a big plan to see Kwahu uplifted from its current state to become one of the most vibrant local economies in the country," he said.
He mentioned the construction of a railway to link Kwahu to the country's economic hub, especially Kumasi and Accra, and the construction of a bridge across the Kwahu-Sekyere Afram Plains, adding that the government was already holding talks with the Korean government on the project.
On the issue of Fulani herdsmen, the President said the government would make every effort to deal with the problem once and for all.
He used the occasion to thank the people of Kwahu for their massive support towards his victory in the 2016 general election.
Help Kwahu people
In his address, Nana Opinamang appealed to the government to help address problems hindering the development of Kwahu.
He mentioned the indiscriminate felling of trees by chainsaw operators, the poor road network, lack of access to potable water and illegal mining as some of the major issues that needed urgent attention in Kwahu.
He said Kwahu Easter festivities could soon lose their relevance unless measures were taken to address the developmental challenges in the area.
Nana Opinamang assured the government of the support of the people of Kwahu in the implementation of development programmes for the area.
To demonstrate the commitment of the people, the Obomenghene promised 200 acres for the government to undertake development activities that would benefit Kwahu people.
He also called on the business community to invest in the tourism sector in the Kwahu area.