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Tuesday, June 6, 2023

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By Nans Kweku Ofori Atta

Is it appropriate and wise enough to suggest to government to declare a state of emergency to the military with a specific directive to shoot any person at any illegal mining (galamsey) site? Is that the right way to go as a nation? What is the view of the council of state on this matter? Have they come out with any word of caution? Aside the President meeting chiefs and MMDCEs to negotiate, have they equally issued a word of caution as National House of Chiefs to add their voice to the ongoing saga, to find an everlasting solution to this? What kind of society are we trying to build? What perception are we building in the mindset of these illegal mining (galamsey) operators? Do we really understand exactly, the repercussions and implications of what we are calling for in our country?

I totally condemn it as a concerned citizen and suggest to the government to never think of considering such directives. We are gradually inviting war and terrorism among ourselves. We have to outline the core reasons behind the rise of illegal mining activities (galamsey) ongoing in the country, rather than suggesting a directive of “shoot to kill” to government.

I was extremely surprised to have heard on radio, a well renowned and respectable senior lecturer in the person of Professor Kofi Agyekum, joining the proponents of the “shoot to kill” order as a solution to the galamsey menace.

Also, it’s rather unfortunate to read that the National House of Chiefs are calling for a review and payment of their allowances, notwithstanding the economic crisis the nation is facing now. They have rather been spectators to this canker of illegal mining eating the nation like cancer. They rather would want to better their own lives and that of their families instead of the welfare of the people they are ruling.

A simple and humble suggestion to Mr President, as a concerned citizen and not a spectator, is to please help solve the rising unemployment crisis which is a serious challenge the country is facing currently. Also, ensure you caution your people (appointees) to desist from issuing licences to unqualified citizens, expats and allegedly to themselves to avoid engaging themselves in such behaviours.

Mr president, the best way to win the heart of Ghanaians and to put an end to this worrying crisis is to start ‘cleaning up’ your government without any fear or favour. Remember you promised putting your presidency on the line in this war against illegal mining so save your reputation, trust and the hope Ghanaians had in you as a presidential candidate then for the New Patriotic Party during your campaign.

Lastly, kindly tone down on your promises and I believe you will listen to me as a concerned citizen and not a spectator.

Several people have proposed to government to declare a state of emergency and charge the Military with a specific directive to shoot any person at any illegal mining (galamsey) sites. They strongly believe this approach will deter the illegal miners and save the nation’s water bodies and environment and lives since pollution of the water bodies poses health risks to the populace.
Speaking on Peace FM’s “Kokrokoo” programme, Professor Agyekum called on the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to be bold and sanction the ‘shoot to kill’ directive.

And I quote… “Kwame I now agree with you that we enforce that (directive); when we meet you there, we must shoot you . . . where we have reached, we have to make up our minds that if you have decided to destroy the nation, the nation must also get rid of you…”

This is rather unfortunate. Let’s try to unite as a nation to see reasons not to use guns as weapons of fighting illegal mining but rather do more of broader consultations and make firm decisions in that regard. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must add their voice and take the lead role in this fight against galamsey. They are assigned primarily to protect our environment and they shouldn’t sit virtually unconcerned and allow some of these suggestions of ”Shoot to Kill” to fly around. The Council of Elders and the National House of Chiefs too must equally rise to the task and help save our dying nation.

God bless us all

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