The Bishop of Koforidua Diocese of the Catholic, Most Rev. Joseph Afrifa Agyekum, is upset about the continuous involvement of the Chinese in illegal mining in Ghana despite government’s assurance of fighting the menace.
The Bishop was visibly angry when he referenced a recent news report that over seventy acres of cocoa farms as well as water bodies at Adum Dominase in the Western Region are being destroyed by Chinese illegal miners who have invaded the community.
Most Rev Afrifa Agyekum wondered why Ghana has stood so low allowing Chinese and foreign nationals to invade the country to destroy cocoa farms which are the backbone of the economy and pollute bodies threatening citizenry survival.
“… for me to hear yesterday that Chinese are involved in this. And I don’t fear to say this, To destroy my country, and then afterwards you leave here and go and enjoy the booty in your country. Ghana we’ll have to sit up. We have to sit up.
“Why have we succumbed so low? If these people(the Chinese and other foreigners) are so powerful and more powerful than Ghanaians, then I don’t know where we are going. Is it the Visa that they have to come into this country to do galamsey, who gave them that resident permit, and what work are they doing? Is anybody controlling it?” Most Rev. Afrifa Agyekum questioned.
The revered Catholic Bishop stated that the consequences of illegal mining are going to be more devastating hence persons clothed with powers to lead the fight must sit up to end the menace.
“Now to whoever, the powers that be, let’s take this fight seriously else the future is not good. Just yesterday somebody told me CSIR has also cautioned that our water bodies have become so dirty and not potable that for the next couple of years we will have to import water into this country. How can we do that? I drive past Birim, like coffee and milk. And this is Ghana.”
Most Rev. Joseph Afrifa Agyekum encouraged all Ghanaians to speak up and decisive action taken to end the illegal mining menace.
“And We are all sitting down. We are all keeping quiet. We have to continue to talk. Galamsey is going to kill this country. The money that you will get today will deprive so many Ghanaians of a good livelihood. The politicians must listen to us. We voted for you, work for us – parliamentarians, chiefs, police, army everybody. I am a Ghanaian so I have a right to speak the way I am speaking. I have my passport I don’t need passport to live in Ghana so I am free you can’t take this thing (passport) from me. It is not good. We have to be worried about what is going on.”
“The amount of money that we get and look at the vast land that have been destroyed. I don’t know what to say again. The powers that be let’s all sit up let’s take action else the future of Ghana I don’t know where we are going to go. It saddens my heart, to be honest with you. I am 68 years that is why I am talking this way. I am older than some of the parliamentarians, older than some of the Ministers and so I have also the right to speak the way I am speaking. And we will continue to hammer on this whether they listen to us or not. And I am happy the Asantehene is putting his weight behind it. Let’s all come together and let’s fight this menace.”
The Biship made these remarks on Saturday, January 21 when speaking at the 2023 Day Mass and Induction Ceremony for Rev.Fr.Benjamine Opoku Hene as the new Headmaster of Pope John Senior High School and Junior Seminary in Koforidua, Eastern region.
Most Rev. Afrifa Agyekum charged the new headmaster to uphold and imbibe Catholic values into the students to spur their academic development.
Eastern Regional Minister Seth Kwame Acheampong said government is committed to quality and accessible education hence the introduction of the Free Senior High School programme accompanied by infrastructural expansion.
The new headmaster of Pope John SHS and Junior Seminary, Rev.Fr.Benjamine Opoku Hene, said discipline, supervision and monitoring, collaboration with parents, and networking with old students are four thematic areas he will advance to improve quality education in the school.