President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has urged those who are opposed to ongoing exercise employed by the government to deal with illegal mining (galamsey) in the country, to go to Court to vindicate their position.
President Akufo-Addo indicated that some Ghanaians believe that the ongoing exercise of ridding the country’s water bodies and forest zones of harmful equipment and machinery is unlawful and, in some cases, harsh.
“I strongly disagree and I would advise those who take a contrary view to go to court to vindicate their position if they so wish. That is what the rule of law is all about. I should know,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo said these when he cut the sod for the construction works to begin on the Law Village by the Ghana Law School in Accra on Wednesday.
According to the President, the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703), is the vehicle through which a mineral license is acquired and thus, confers mineral rights on the holder.
He explained that any person who, without a valid license, conveys any equipment onto a piece of land purportedly to conduct activities for the search, reconnaissance, prospecting, exploration, or mining for a mineral, commits grievous crimes against the law.
“Indeed, a person in possession of a valid license but undertakes mining in water bodies or mines unlawfully in protected forest zones also commits illegality.
Apart from the criminal violations of Act 703, President Akufo-Addo said, the activities of such persons desecrate the country’s environment, pollute water bodies, and endanger the lives of present and future generations of Ghanaians.
The President indicated that those persons were monumental crimes that should not be condoned in any shape or form.
“The presence of changfans in water bodies is illegal, as is the unlawful use of excavators in protected forest zones. The devastation caused by this equipment is nothing short of evil, and we should not compromise in our efforts to protect our environment, forest reserves and water bodies.”
President Akufo-Addo said “with all the emphasis at my command, that no rights can accrue to or flow from the criminal venture of galamsey. The equipment, which is being used for an illegal or criminal purpose, cannot confer on the owner or any other person any rights whatsoever.
The President said he swore an oath on 7th January, to be faithful and truthful to the Republic of Ghana and that is exactly what I am doing in the fight against galamsey.
He appealed to all Ghanaians, including many who oppose his strategy to fight galamsey and are continuing with the illegality, to rally behind the government in its efforts to stamp out far-reaching illegality and criminality, rather than advocate for the protection of non-existent rights of persons caught in this evil activity.”
Rex Mainoo Yeboah, ISD