Okyenhene, Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin, has rubbished allegations that he condones illegal mining.

The Okyenene has been criticized for looking unconcerned while illegal miners destroy water bodies and lands within the Akyem Abuakwa state, but in an exclusive interview with host of the Citi Breakfast Show, Bernard Avle on Tuesday, Ofori Panin described his critics as ignorant or mischievous.

“It’s either people are ignorant, or they have small minds, evil, mischievous, or playing or they are stupid to think that I will be involved in this [galamsey]. I grew up in Akwaita, I saw the destruction there after I came back from overseas. I saw the destruction in Tarkwa and Bogosu, I had been around this country, there is no town that we can represent and say that there was gold here and that town had benefited. So why anybody with my education and my reputation get down and tolerate this. When you see good people and they are honest and they go out and do their own things, it is different things from people obeying you and seeing your authority and going underneath to do something else,” he added.

The Okyenhene explained that, galamsey activities begun within the Abuakwa states around 2009, adding that he waged the war against the activity.

He noted that, a task-force he set up yielded little results, for which reason he complained to the duty bearers to help control the menace but that also proved futile.

“It started around 2009, when we saw a bunch of people coming from the Akwatia area to our area, and they started doing their galamsey. We immediately sent them a message to stop it. I myself visited the President, Mills and told him that what is coming is quite dangerous and we need to stop. The president called the then regional minister, Ofosu Ampofo and told him that you need to do whatever you can to stop it. Ofosu Ampofo put his team together and confiscated some of their equipment.”

He said 15 days after the equipment including excavators were seized, they were given back to their owners while the galamsey continued unabated.

“There is not one single person who matters in this environment that I have not talked to –  the chamber of mines, the minerals commission, forestry commission, the president, MPs, among others.”

Arrest and punish them

He further said the only way to stop the menace is to enforce the laws and punish those arrested.

#StopGalamseyNow

The Okyenhene’s comment comes on the back of intense pressure being mounted on government to stop galamsey, following reports that Ghana may soon import water if the trend persists.

Activities of illegal miners are said to have destroyed a number of water bodies and farmlands.

By: Godwin Akweiteh Allotey/citifmonline.com/Ghana
Follow @AlloteyGodwin