Religious Bodies in Ghana have called on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to ban small-scale mining in the country until a workable solution is found to dealing with illegal mining, known as galamsey.
The religious bodies, comprising the Christian Council of Ghana, Ghana Pentecostal Council, Ghana Charismatic and Pentecostal Council, the Catholic Bishops Conference and the National Muslim Council made the statement when they called on the President at the Presidency Tuesday.
Leader of the delegation, Rev. Prof. J.O.Y Mante, who is the chairman of the Christian Council of Ghana, said they were worried about the continuous deterioration of the galamsey menace despite the government’s interventions.
“We are here as your Spiritual Leaders to find out if there is any problem that we do not know…We know that the government machinery has the power to uproot anything it wants to uproot.
“We are asking ourselves the question, is there something more than we see,” Rev. Prof. J.O.Y Mante rhetorically asked, and added that they were ready to partner with the government to deal with the galamsey menace.
Rev. Prof. J.O.Y Mante said the body had visited many galamsey sites across the country and “we have seen some very dangerous things that cannot be expressed in textbooks.”
The Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana said some homes within the communities had dug pits where some residents awkwardly went down the pits to mine gold.
According to Rev. Prof. J.O.Y Mante, the Council had earlier met with the Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources, Samuel Abu Jinaper to express their concerns about the menace.
The Religious Body’s discussion with the President was a follow-up on a press release it issued on the 17th of October 2022, calling on the government to ban small-scale mining until solutions were found to dealing with galamsey.
In the press release, the religious bodies essentially called for a ban to be placed on small-scale mining in the country until a solution is found to the menace.
President Akufo-Addo welcomed and expressed his appreciation to the leaders for their interest in supporting the government’s efforts at dealing with the galamsey phenomenon.
The President said he was happy Ghanaians were talking about the galamsey menace, adding: “the time when it went out of hand, which we should have talked, we were quiet about it.”
He said today, the public discourse and public consciousness have fully been aroused as to the dangers galamsey posed to the country’s growth and progress, adding: “that to me is the source of satisfaction.
He said public discourse, advocacies and agitations on the matter were the first step to any fundamental reforms.
“As the society, itself is sufficiently seized with and agitated by the problem, and from that, from public opinion, you would then get the reforms and the measures and the decisions that make it possible.”
The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor who spoke to the Presidential Press Corps said the call by religious bodies to collaborate with the government in the fight against the galamsey menace was welcome news.
Rex Mainoo Yeboah, ISD