The Traditional Authorities in the Gwira Traditional Area of the Evalue-Jomoro-Gwira Municipality in the Western Region have called on the Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources responsible for mining, Mr. Mireku Duker, to stop parading lies and deceiving Ghanaians and Nana Akufo-Addo that the Ankobra River is fast regaining its pure status.
Traditional authorities in the catchment communities of River Ankobra stressed that the pollution of the river, which passes through the Ellembelle District and the Nzema East Municipality, has worsened following a surge in illegal mining activities along the stretch.
They pointed out that the aerial photographs of the river taken on Thursday, February 16, 2023, show that illegal miners are having a field day as the colour of the river has changed from its natural state to yellow.
According to them, the residents of the Ankobra community, located on the banks of the river, are unable to use the water for house chores due to its current state.
They added that the Ankobra Beach Resort, located not too far from the estuary of the Ankobra River, is likely not to attract tourists who usually come for surfing when the country’s borders are finally opened.
This, according to them, is because the polluted river Ankobra enters what used to be a beautiful Ankobra Beach Resort.
But Mr. Duker, speaking after the tour of the Ankobra River on Thursday, February 16, 2023, noted that the return of the Ankobra River and other water-bodies to their pure status is a reflection of the strides made by the government’s fight against illegal mining.
According to him, the progress made in the turbidity level of the water bodies is indicative of the fact that the anti-galamsey fight is yielding results.
While commending the various agencies and Ghanaians for their efforts, he maintained that the government will not take its foot off the pedal and will press on with the measures that have resulted in the gains made so far.
But in a quick response at a press conference on Friday, February 17, 2023, the Tufuhene of Assuawuah in the Gwira Traditional Area, Nana Addae Blay V, described Mr. Duker, who doubles as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Tarkwa Nsuaem Constituency, as a blatant liar and called on President Akufo-Addo and many Ghanaians to disregard the mischievous public statements made by him.
Nana Addae, further called on President Akufo-Addo to be mindful of his appointees, particularly the ones running the administrative affairs of the state mining regulatory institutions.
They were shocked to learn that the entire Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources responsible for mining boasted to the entire that the River Ankobra, which has now changed its yellowish color to green, is now gaming its natural cleaning status, asking, “What kind of lies did Mr. Duker and followers throw into the public domain?”
According to him, the claims by Mr. Duker and his followers were a face-serving exercise to create the impression that they are working to help President Akufo-Addo end the menace.
“I am stating categorically that the high rate at which the illegal small scale mining activities are going in the various communities such as Sefwi Asawinso, Diaso, Wassa Jokwaa, Wassa Akropong, Hiawa Bekwai, Prestea, Pepoase, Gwira Wiaso Gwira Tumantu, Gwira Banso and Assuawuah is worrying.
The Tufahene pointed out that he has pieces of documentary evidence captured in the video that revealed the high rate at which illegal small-scale mining activities (popularly known as galamsey) are indiscriminately ongoing in the Gwira enclaves of the municipality without recourse to the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 Act 703.
He expressed disappointment in the chief of Gwira Banso community, Nana Ette Akrade II, for not protecting the lands in his jurisdiction from the invasion of the illegal small-scale miners who are from Mali, Niger, and China.
According to the Tufuhene, he was not happy about the unconcerned attitude of Nana Akrade because, on Thursday, February 16, 2023, when Mr. Duker led the delegation to the bank of River Ankobra to deceive the general public, particularly President Akufo-Addo, that River Ankobra is gaining “clean” status, Nana Akrade was in support of the falsehoods.
He pointed out that in the coming days, some traditional officeholders in Gwira Traditional Area would hold a press conference to name and shame the chiefs and government appointees who are endorsing illegal small-scale mining activities.