Speaker of Parliament, Prof Aaron Michael Oquaye, has stated that the 1992 Republican Constitution has enjoined all citizens to uphold the Right to Life of every individual and made conditions for the protection of such rights.
No member of society, he said, should therefore be allowed to deny others such rights to life through illegal mining activities.
Prof Mike Ocquaye stated this when members of the steering committee of the Media Coalition against Galamsey paid a courtesy call on him last week in Parliament.
The speaker expressed worry that Ghana’s number one foreign earner cocoa, water, which is equivalent to life and the environment are all under serious threat as a result of illegal mining activities.
He appealed for all stakeholders’ involvement in the fight against galamsey activities to help curb the menace.
“Parliament as the House of representatives of the people needs the collaboration of advocates such as the media coalition to help achieve results in the fight against galamsey,” he stated.
He appealed for sustained public education to enable the citizenry appreciate what galamsey is all about to help fight the canker with the support and involvement of all.
Prof Mike Ocquaye subsequently declared a new partnership with the media he referred to as ‘Parliament and Media Coalition in the fight against Galamsey’ as part of efforts to curb illegal mining.
According to him, the partnership will be a major agenda for discussion at the next Board meeting of the Parliamentary Service where it will be formalized and considered as a duty to the dead, the living and an inheritance to generations yet unborn.
The partnership against illegal mining, he said, will become an integral part of activities marking 25 years of Ghana’s uninterrupted parliamentary democracy.
A member of the Steering Committee of the Media Coalition against Galamsey, Ken Ashigbey, explained that the visit was to solicit Parliament’s support and involvement as a key stakeholder institution in the fight against illegal mining and also brief the Speaker about the Coalition’s observations so far.
According to him, the Galamsey menace is as a result of leadership failure at all levels of national life and stressed that lack of political will, failed law enforcement, lack of effective and deterrent justice delivery, failure on the part of the media, the general lack of cohesion among stakeholders, lack of involvement of the local people and the culture of non-involvement of local chiefs as reasons the country is still where it is on illegal mining with its attendant challenges.
He lamented that the involvement of foreigners, especially Chinese nationals in illegal mining, is much appalling.
Mr. Ashigeby noted that the solution to the galamsey menace is multifaceted and commended the President for demonstrating political will against galamsey through activities of Operation Vanguard, which he said has done significantly well in controlling the menace.
The group, however, pointed out that lack of prosecution of offenders will dampen the moral of security services.
They urged government to supply night vision goggles, modern technology and the needed resources to enable them win the battle on a sustainable basis.
The group urged Parliament to get actively involved, especially in communities where the act is dominant and called for critical measures to curb the menace including regular updates on the Multi-sectoral Mining Integrated Project (MMIP).
The Coalition invited Parliament to join the campaign against illegal mining in its “Operation Red Friday” by wearing red attires or armbands on the last Friday in May in protest against illegal mining.
“It should never be said that, during our time, the resources of our country was poisoned through galamsey,” Mr. Ashigvey said.
By Osumanu Al-Hassanfirstname.lastname@example.org