Scores of traditional office holders in the Gwira Traditional Area of the Evalue-Ajomoro-Gwira Municipality of the Western Region have berated government appointees in the mining regulatory institutions led by the Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources Minister responsible for Mines, warning them to stop throwing dust onto the face of Ghanaians and the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo that the Ankobra River is fast regaining its authentic and clean status.
The leaders in the catchment communities of River Ankobra stressed that the pollution of the Ankobra 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 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 river banks are unable to use the water for domestic activities due to its current state.
They added that the Ankobra Beach Resort which is also located not too far from where the Ankobra River estuary, 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 into what used to be a beautiful Ankobra Beach Resort.
Duker who was accompanied on his tour of Ankobra River by the Western Regional Acting Boss of the Minerals Commission, Francis Annobil and DCE for Ellembelle, Kwasi Bonzoh 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 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 government will not take its foot off 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 the statement made by Mr. Duker who doubles as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Tarkwa Nsuaem Constituency and his followers as untrue and called on President Akufo-Addo and many Ghanaians to disregard the mischievous public statements made by Mr. Duker and his followers.
Nana Addae Blay V further called on President Akufo-Addo to be mindful of his appointees, particularly the ones running administrative affairs of the state mining regulatory institutions.
According to him, they were shocked to hear the news that the whole Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources responsible for mining would tout to the whole nation that the River Ankobra which has currently changed it yellowish colour to green is now gaining its natural cleaning status, “asking that what kind of lies Dr Duker and followers are throwing into the public domain.?”
He mentioned that the current lies being perpetrated the personalities had attested to the fact that President’s appointees in the mining regulatory institutions had failed to discharge their works and that they are not helping the President to success in his quest to fight against the old aged canker in the mining prone communities of the Western Region.
According to the him, the heavy mercury content in the river Ankobra from spices to sea continues to show no sign of reducing, saying that the claim by Duker and his followers were a face serving exercise to create the impression that they are working to help President Akufo-Addo.
“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. So if President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has not put in place effective measures and he things to be listening of his ministers and deputy Ministers of Lands and Natural Resources including the Western Regional Minister and Western Regional Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Minerals Commission who toured the River Ankobra and succeeded in deceiving the President that the River Ankobra is clean, I am officially informing our President that his Ministers and appointees in the mining regulatory institutions are completely lying to him and it is high time he wakes up from his slumber,” Nana Addae Blay V stressed.
The Tufuhene asserted that currently, river Ankobra has been polluted by the illegal small scale mining activities, which evidence contradicts the clean state of the river claim recently made by the Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, George Mireku Duker.
The chief stated that pieces of documentary evidences gathered from the investigations have revealed that the recent announcement by Duker who expressed satisfaction with the improved state of the downstream portion of River Ankobra which has for about a decade suffered serious pollution from illegal gold mining activities is completely false and a cooked story to score cheap political points.
He said, information available to them indicated that some traditional office holders in Gwira have been selling diesel fuels for the galamseyers in various mining prone communities, particularly in Gwira Banso community within the Evalue-Ajomoro-Gwira Municipality to power their Changfan and other mining machines to prospect gold on the water bodies in the area.
The chief indicated that the palace of the Gwira Banso Chief, Nana Ette Akrade II, may be invaded very soon by these illegal miners who are from Mali, Niger, China and Ghana with excavators to prospect for gold should the menace continue unabated in the area.
According to him, illegal miners in Gwira Banso were mining deeply in River Ankobra which has changed its already yellowish colour to green.
He pointed out that the sad aspect of this illegality is that Nana Ette Akrade II, who claims to be a crusader against illegal mining activities in Gwira Traditional Area, is silent about the situation.
The chief reported that the rate at which illegal miners have degraded lands in the Gwira Banso and polluted River Ankobra is very troubling, and that if care is not taken, the entire Gwira Banso chief’s palace will be invaded by illegal miners, hence the need for all residents to support the fight against the menace by the government.
He noted that they were on the grounds in the area and saw how the illegal miners are deeply mining gold resources in River Ankobra.
“President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, if you come to River Ankobra now, you will see how the miners are using Changfan machines and other heavy mining equipment to engage in illegal small scale mining activities in River Ankobra at these aforementioned communities.”
He pointed that in the coming days some traditional office holders 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 which had polluted River Ankobra, fertile farmers lands and forest range reserves.