Dr. Benjamin Otchere-Ankrah says he is utterly disgusted by the letter written by Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, to Akonta Mining Ltd for encroaching on the Tano Nimiri Forest Reserve in the Amenfi West Municipality in the Western Region.
It could be recalled that personnel from the Forestry Commission were recently chased out of the forest reserve by some muscular men when they went to stop workers of the company from mining.
Following the incident, Akonta Mining Ltd, a mining company owned by the ruling New Patriotic Party's (NPP) Ashanti Regional Chairman, Bernard Antwi Bosiako a.k.a Chairman Wontumi, has been stopped by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources from mining in the forest reserve.
According to the Ministry, even though Akonta Mining Limited has a mining lease to undertake mining operations in some parts of Samreboi, outside the Forest Reserve, “the company has no mineral right to undertake any mining operations in the Tano Nimiri Forest Reserve”.
“Our records show that Akonta Mining Ltd, on August 25, 2022, applied for a Mining Lease to undertake mining operations in the said Forest Reserve. By a Ministerial Directive, all reconnaissance, prospecting and/or exploratory activities in Forest Reserves in the country are suspended, except in exceptional circumstances.
“Although this directive does not affect mining in Forest Reserves, Akonta Mining Limited’s application has not been determined. Accordingly, any alleged activity being undertaken by the company in the Forest Reserve is illegal,” the statement further disclosed.
The statement also said the Minister has directed the Forestry Ministry to “forthwith, ensure that the company does not carry out any operation in the Forest and to take the necessary action against any person found culpable in this matter”.
But Dr. Benjamin Otchere-Ankrah is unconvinced by the instructions from the sector Minister to the company to halt their mining operations in the specified forest reserve.
"I feel so disgusted with the letter that Jinapor wrote. Why are we giving someone warning to take his machines away? Have we given Ghana for work and pay?", he questioned.
Establishing his argument, he said; "We are in this country and some people doing galamsey had their machines burned. Why is someone else doing something that is said to be illegal rather getting a warning to remove his machines from the forest?"
To him, the directive to Akonta Mining not to carry out its operation in the forest without any accompanying punishment sounds discriminatory.
"Are we being discriminatory? Are we being true to ourselves? What is this?", he exclaimed.
"If we keep doing this, then we are heading towards nowhere" with the fight against galamsey, he added.
Dr. Benjamin Otchere-Ankrah made these submissions on Peace FM's "Kokrokoo" morning show.
|Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are those of the writers and do not reflect those of Peacefmonline.com. Peacefmonline.com accepts no responsibility legal or otherwise for their accuracy of content. Please report any inappropriate content to us, and we will evaluate it as a matter of priority.|