The Minister for Defence, Dominic Nitiwul, has indicated that the current Akufo-Addo administration will soon employ some youth to reclaim lands degraded by illegal miners, also known as ‘galamseyers.’
He said that they would also undertake afforestation to reclaim the lands that would be used for farming.
The Minister said the exercise will soon be rolled out by the Ministries of Lands and Natural Resources and Environment, Science, Technology and Innovations to help give employment to the youth in the affected areas.
He said the exercise would ensure that the work of Operation Vanguard would not be in vain.
“All those illegal miners thinking that the exercise would be a nine-day wonder must revise their notes because the government is very determined to uproot illegal mining from the society despite the political ramifications, Mr Nitiwul said.
The Minister made the observations when he and the Minister for Interior visited Ankaako in the Amansie Central District of the Ashanti region, one of the major galamsey sites in the region to assess the extent of damage by ‘galamseyers’ to the environment.
The Defence Minister said the government took the bold decision to fight the ‘galamsey’ menace, which has destroyed all major river bodies, adding “very soon drinking water will be one of the most expensive commodities in the country.
He disclosed that the government wants to ensure continuous supply of drinking water for the populace since the polluted water bodies are sources of drinking water for Ghanaians.
“We need to save and preserve the environment for our children and children’s children, otherwise their future would be bleak.” According to the Defence Minister, ‘galamsey’ is not permitted in most African countries, including Cote d’Ivoire, Togo and Burkina Faso, because they know the havoc it could cause to the environment.
He said the government would also engage all those illegal miners, train them and put them in groups so that they would undertake mining in a regulated way which would be less destructive to the environment.
“I want to send this message to all illegal mining still determined to carry out their nefarious activities that the Operation Vanguard will continue to arrest them,” he said, adding that they would not abandon the fight against illegal mining in the country to help preserve the environment.