Politicians Doing ‘Galamsey’ For Campaign Money

Participants at the opening ceremony of a Western Regional House of Chiefs’ retreat yesterday were shocked when a member of the House alleged that some politicians are neck deep in illegal mining or ‘galamsey’ operations in the region.

According to Ogyeahoho Yaw Gyebi II, Omanhene of Sefwi Ahnwiaso Traditional Area in the region, some politicians had acquired large tracts of land and are seriously engaged in illegal mining.

He asserted that the politicians engaged in the illegal activity use the money accrued from the galamsey operations for their campaign activities.

He has therefore called for the arrest and prosecution of any politician found culpable of masterminding any illegal mining activity in the country.

The opening ceremony of the retreat took place at Benyin, in the Jomoro District yesterday on the theme “The Role of Traditional Rulers in Local Development”.

The Omanhene admitted that some chiefs also were selling out parcels of land to illegal miners resulting in environmental degradation.

He accused some big mining companies operating in the country of allegedly buying tailings containing gold ore from illegal miners, thus, encouraging galamsey.

The Western Regional Minister, Paul Evans Aidoo corroborated the Omanhene’s assertion and stressed that a taskforce has been put in place to tackle illegal mining in the communities.

“We are creating the awareness now after which the security forces will storm the mining sites. Please no one should come and beg when someone you know is arrested,” he told the chiefs.

‘Any chief who is aware that it is illegal to do galamsey and still gives out land for such purpose will be arrested,’ he added.

The chiefs used the occasion to renew their request for the 10 per cent share of the oil revenue for development projects in the Western Region.

In 2010 when oil production started in the country, the chiefs in the region demanded that 10 per cent of the revenue accrued from the production should be dedicated to the development of the region.

The chiefs argued that, although the region contributed a huge chunk of the country’s resources, it was yet to enjoy a fair share of the national cake.

They therefore wanted government to dedicate 10 per cent of the oil revenue to the region’s infrastructural development.

Almost about five years after the initial demand, the chiefs are still requesting for the share.

The Vice President of the House, Nana Akwasi Agyemang IX, made the request on behalf of the members at the programme.

He mentioned that even though the request was made during the tenure of the late President John Atta Mills, he hoped the current President would revisit the issue and honour the request.

From Emmanuel Opoku, Benyin

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