The 10th Anniversary of the enstoolment of Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin II as Okyehene, has been held with a renewed vigour to arrest the state of environmental degradation in the country.
President John Evans Atta Mills led a government delegation including the Eastern Regional Minister, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo; Minister of Environment Science and Technology, Sherry Aryittey and the Inspector General of Police, Paul Tawiah Quaye to pay homage to the Okyehene at Kyebi, the seat of the Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Area on Saturday.
Addressing a grand durbar of chiefs and people of the Royal Akyem Kingdom, Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin II clothed in rich and colourful kente and dangling golden chains, bemoaned the state of lawlessness especially in the mining sector, which he said does not only pose a threat to the environment but the very lives of the people involved.
He called for the streamlining of ‘galamsey’ mining to possibly provide licenses to the miners in order to monitor their activities and to ensure conformity to environmental laws. “The current regime by which bands of individuals without any permit plunge the land into desecration must stop. I have made representations to Government to introduce some regulations into galamsey to ensure that atrocities such as water poisoning and abandoned pits are avoided,” he emphasised.
The Okyehene cited land and chieftaincy disputes, environmental degradation as some of the major challenges he has to contend with since ascending the throne on October 4, 1999. These challenges notwithstanding, the affable ruler relished the fulfillment of his predecessor’s (Sir Nana Ofori Atta I) dream for higher education in Okyeman, through the establishment of the University College of Agriculture and Environmental Studies at Bunso which was duly inaugurated in October 10, 2009.
The University is to cater for the agricultural and environmental needs of the people. President Mills, clad in a flamboyant ‘agbada’ was full of commendation for the Okyehene for his invaluable role he and the Okyeman Council have played in the development of the country.
He pledged government’s support for the kingdom and hoped to be present during the next anniversary.
Government presented cash of GH¢8,000, GH¢3,000 of which was from the District Assemblies in the Akyem Abuakwa kingdom, plus assorted drinks to the Okyehene as part of their contributions to the success of the anniversary. The ceremony was littered with a grandiose cultural display, which saw traditional dancers, young and old, male and female, punch the air with clenched fists, amidst smiles and rhythmic stamping and tapping of the feet to an enthusiastic drummers’ beat. I5 personalities were decorated with the highest Okyeman awards known as the ‘Okyeman Kanea’ for endearing themselves in their various fields of endeavour.
They included, Lt. Gen. J.B. Danquah, Prof Robert Addo-Fenning, Mr Ken Ofori Atta, Ms Justice Rose Owusu, Mr Fred Ohene Kena, Mr Prince Kofi Amoabeng, Prof Kankam Twum Barima and Dr. K.K. Manfo.
The ceremony also drew a large crowd, including members of the diplomatic corps, politicians mostly from the opposition NPP and the people of the Abuakwa state. Sub chiefs from the Kingdom, including Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, presidential candidate for the NPP in the 2008 election, Nana Ofori Atta and Nana Asante Bediatuo were present to renew their allegiance to the custodian of the "Okyem"-leopard, "Obuka"-strategic warfare which has metamorphosed into Akyem Abuakwa kingdom.
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