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Chiefs Must Rise To Support Government's Fight Against 'Galamsey' Menace - Minister   
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The Deputy Minister for Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs, Paul Essien, has asked chiefs and traditional leaders to use their influence to help government as it pursues an unrelenting battle against illegal mining in the country.

As deadly as it is, the menace, he said needed collective effort from all stakeholders to support government battle it before it goes out of hand.

The Deputy Minister and Member of Parliament for the Jomoro Constituency was addressing chiefs and the youth in Naaga, a community under the Navrongo Municipality of the Upper East Region.

His visit to the region forms part of a two-day sensitization workshop organized for chiefs by the Ministry for Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs on illegal mining

"The youth are not in school because of 'galamsey'. Gold will soon finish, and the youth will have nothing to do for their livelihoods in future", Mr. Essien said, while making reference to the fact that Tarkwa Mines had announced over 3,000 workers would face redundancy because signals were clear the gold was 'finishing'.

The Legislator is therefore, advising that the youth should not truncate their education which is a long-term investment and engage in the environmental unfriendly activity which only serves as a threat to their future.

Acknowledging the contribution of traditional leaders to the development of the country, Mr. Essien assures that government would in due course empower chiefs to 'go hard' on illegal mining in their respective communities by flushing out the defiant 'galamseyers' who remained adamant despite government's directive to halt the activity.

He used the opportunity to remind the youth of several interventions rolled out by government to provide jobs to the teeming unemployed youth, saying they had nothing to regret if all the flagship interventions were implemented and kick-started.

"Very soon, all the flagship projects would be implemented to put smiles in the faces of the youth. The 'one district, one dam policy', the planting for food and jobs policy, the 'one Constituency, one million dollar project', among other projects will employ thousands of the youth in the country", Mr. Essien explained, adding that all is targeted at making the youth economically productive to contribute to Ghana's progress.

President Nana Addo says chiefs should take total control of their areas as custodians of the land by ensuring no 'galamseyer' is allowed to enter there and cause destruction to the land.

Chiefs have to collaborate with the assemblies to fight the menace, and the youth must unite behind the chiefs to fight the menace which depletes the effectiveness of the natural resource (land)", the MP advised.

Speaking through his interpreter, the Paramount Chief for Naaga and President for Upper East Regional House of Chiefs, Naba Olando Bosingo Awini, touted the Ministry for reminding the chiefs and traditional leaders of their role in helping to combat the nationwide canker, pledging that his outfit would deal ruthlessly with the youth who remained adamant to the call.

At the Bolgatanga Area Council, chiefs expressed concern about some politicians and businessmen who are in one way or the other aiding the activity of illegal mining.

They fear the battle against the challenge will not succeed if government doesn't engage the 'sponsors' of illegal mining in a round table meeting in a move to sensitize them on the devastating effects of the galamsey menace.

The Divisional Chief for Yorogo Traditional Council, Naba Johnson Azebire Awuni, said: "chiefs now have little power to summon people before their palaces if they go wrong. All powers are vested in the hands of politicians.

On the issue of 'galamsey', it is the 'big men' and politicians who own concessions encourage the act. If the government will give our power back to us, we can help fight galamsey.

The security personnel should not also turn their back against us when we lodge a complain on the activity with them", he added

Source: Francis Dabre Dabang/upper East Region

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