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Review community mining programme — Okyenhene

BY: Haruna Yussif Wunpini
Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin — Okyenhene of the Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Area
Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin — Okyenhene of the Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Area

The Okyenhene, Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin, has called for a review of the Community Mining Programme (CMP), saying it still pollutes water bodies and destroys farm lands.

He said the programme, which was identified as a substitute to illegal mining — commonly called "galamsey" in local parlance — was causing harm to the environment just as illegal mining was, and, therefore, needed to be reviewed to protect the environment.

Consequently, he proposed that community mining should be stopped and a comprehensive reclamation policy put in place to cover all uncovered pits created as a result of galamsey activities.

The Okyenhene made the call when the Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Seth Kwame Acheampong, paid a courtesy call on him at his palace at Kyebi last Sunday to officially introduce himself to the traditional ruler and ask for his blessings and guidance.

CMP’s limitation

Osagyefuo Ofori Panin said he doubted the effective implementation of the CMP because its outcome had been contrary to the  expectation that it would stop the destruction left in the trail of galamsey, stressing that community mining had left in its wake large stretches of uncovered pits and pollution of water bodies.

Worst of it, the Okyenhene noted, licences for community mining were issued in Accra after which the miners introduced themselves to the chiefs who could not do anything about it.

"The problem is not with Akyem Abuakwa alone where a number of people, particularly foreigners, are destroying our farms and causing pollution to water bodies and then take away our treasures while we the chiefs look on because we the chiefs cannot do anything about it," the Okyenhene said.

Osagyefuo Ofori Panin called for collaboration between traditional rulers and local government authorities to harmonise the developmental needs of the people before social infrastructure are designed and implemented in communities.

The Okyenhene said large tracts of land in the area, which were acquired long ago, had not been compensated for.

He praised the government's educational programme, which, he said, was making it possible for many children to be educated.

Minister’s assurance

Mr Acheampong assured the Okyenhene that he would be in touch with him to see how best to resolve the challenges confronting the communities.

"I will be a listening minister so that together we can further develop our communities in the region much better to continue to improve the socio-economic wellbeing of the people. I have noted all the concerns you raised and will act accordingly," he added.