Samuel Abu Jinapor, Minister of Lands and Natural Resources has accused Chiefs, District Chief Executives, regional authorities, and opinion leaders of the country’s increasing illicit mining situation.
Their acts and inactions, he claims, have largely contributed to the impunity with which illicit miners destroy forests in quest of minerals, despite official efforts to stop them.
Speaking at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology’s (KNUST) Faculty of Renewable Natural Resources’ 40th Anniversary celebration, he stated that it was quite unjust for local officials to claim ignorance when these illegalities were taking place.
He has urged everyone, particularly local governments, to take an active role in putting an end to the canker once and for all.
His remarks follow a working visit to Manso Datano in the Ashanti Region’s Amansie South District, where hectares of land had been damaged.
That kind of devastation, he claims, could not have occurred without different stakeholders like chiefs, district and regional administrations, and others being aware of and even assisting these operations.
“I come from a palace and can say unequivocally that in most cases, no one, and I repeat, no one, can bring a chainsaw to harvest in the forest, an excavator to mine in the bush, or chanfang to work on a river body in a community without the knowledge, acquiescence, or passive approval of the Chief, elders, assemblymen, opinion leaders, and or local authorities in the community.
“We have to start being honest about our situation.” It is the honest truth, and unfortunately for me, I must state it openly. “Ladies and gentlemen, you may have heard that on Thursday, September 29th, 2022, I paid a working visit to our men and women in uniform—the operation halt two teams in Manso Datano in the Amansie South District, on behalf of the president of the republic,” he stated.
“What I witnessed astounded me. In the midst of the forest, an almost complete community has been established, complete with poultry and goat husbandry, beds, a kitchen, and restrooms, among other amenities. Years, if not decades, of destruction, must have resulted in the catastrophe.
“My question is, how could this have happened with the Chief, elders, assemblymen, unit committee members, district police commander, district chief executive, district officers of the minerals commission, forestry commission, environmental protection agency, and community members all looking the other way?”
“I do not appear to be tarnishing any person or institution’s name, but I dare to state that even regional authorities may not be able to escape from this particular issue and feign ignorance of it,” he continued.