THE MEMBER of Parliament for Abuakwa South, Mr Atta Akyea, has made a passionate appeal to President John Evans Atta Mills to order the military to clamp down on illegal gold mining, popularly referred to as “galamsey”, throughout the country.
He said the activities of the “galamsey” operators, apart from degrading the environment and polluting water bodies, especially near Kyebi in the Eastern Region, had also caused the death of a number of people, including schoolchildren.
Last week, two schoolchildren: Kingsley Effah Agyeman, 11, a Class Six pupil, and his elder brother, Kofi Darkwa, 15, a JHS Two pupil, both of the Kyebi Methodist Primary and Junior High School, drowned in an abandoned “galamsey” pit on the outskirts of Kyebi, the capital of the Abuakwa South Constituency.
Speaking at a press conference at Kyebi at the weekend, Mr Atta Akyea said although President Mills promised to clamp down on the activities of the illegal miners, when he addressed the gathering at Kyebi last year to mark the 10th anniversary of the enthronement of the Okyenhene, Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin.
He said because this had not been done the illegal miners had intensified their activities and were even operating with impunity near Kyebi and many towns, leading to the degradation of arable land, pollution of the sources of drinking water and deaths of people, especially schoolchildren.
Mr Atta Akyea, therefore, appeal to President Mills to order the military to clamp down on the activities of the “galamsey” operators.
Throwing more light on the issue, Mr Atta Akyea stated that lack of jobs at places rich in gold deposits had led to the influx of outsiders, who together with the locals, had gone into illegal mining. He, therefore, asked all such people to obtain the relevant documents and operate in a way that would prevent environmental degradation and disasters.
“I am not against people earning a living through mining by calling for a military clamp down, but we have reached a point where sanity must prevail to prevent a looming calamity so all those in illegal mining must obtain the relevant documents to operate”, Mr Atta Akyea stated.
The Abuakwa South MP who later visited the site where the two schoolchildren drowned last week, also called on the bereaved parents, Mr Kwaku Ofori and his wife, Madam Akua Twumwaa, and donated an unspecified sum of money to them towards the boys’ funeral.