Sultan Nuhu Mohammed Advocates for the legalisation of small scale mining operators, otherwise known as ‘galamsey operators,’ as a means of providing jobs for the youth of Ghana Our Motherland.
It has now become obvious that there is no way the work of galamsey operators can be stopped, particularly, in the mining communities.
Therefore, there is the urgent need for the government to consider the promulgation of laws to streamline and back the activities of galamsey operators.
If you come to Tarkwa, Prestea, Bogoso and other areas in the country, galamsey is the backbone of the indigenes and the local economy, and there is no way it can be stopped. If you try to stop it, then it means you want to deprive the indigenes from having their daily bread, which they will not allow.
In this direction, pragmatic measures must be put in place by both government and stakeholders to make the work of what many had over the years termed ‘illegal mining’ legal, safe and secure.
Though some of the practices of galamsey operators are dangerous, it could on the other hand be streamlined by state institutions and stakeholders, if galamsey is seen as a major contributor to the economy.
For instance, galamsey operators could be coached on the best practices of local mining by state institutions to save lives which hitherto, were lost due to improper mining practices.
Rampant caving in of pits on galamsey operators leading to the loss of lives could be averted, if the government considers it necessary to promulgate laws to back the local activity.
What is more, the multi-national mining companies operating in mining communities should be challenged to set aside a portion of their mining concessions for use by the local economy, as a means of engaging the youth in employable ventures in the mining communities.
The call by the Regional Security Council (REGSEC) which in a statement states to declare war on the activities of galamsey operators in our regions is a huge and a very disastrous mistake, already the REGSEC has embarked on what they have vowed to do and invaded the sites of galamsey operators, arrested, and seized many of their personal belongings, set ablaze expensive equipments and other ceased items belonging to them on grounds that their activity was illegal.
This action by the REGSEC in my view is unwarranted and despicable, and one which deprives the youth of engaging in an employable venture.
I see these actions (unwarranted arrests, seizures and the destruction of galamsey equipment) by the REGSEC, of team military and police personnel as brutalities of no significance to the nation as a whole and it is only to terrorize galamsey operators.
The manner in which the joint military and police team has been unleashing mayhem on the arrested galamsey operators leaves much to be desired.