President Akufo-Addo has waded into the ongoing national debate over the burning of excavators and other mining equipment at illegal mining sites across the country by the anti-galamsey task force.
According to the President, all persons involved in the illegal business of “galamsey” forfeit every right they have as a result of their illegal activities.
“I know there are some who believe that the ongoing exercise of ridding our water bodies and forest zones of harmful equipment and machinery is unlawful and in some cases harsh. I strongly disagree and I will advise those who take a contrary view to go to court to vindicate their position if they so wish. That is what the rule of law is all about,” President Akufo-Addo stated.
President Akufo-Addo said this when he addressed attendees of the sod-cutting ceremony for the construction of the first phase of the “Law Village”, proposed facilities of the Ghana School of Law aimed at helping to expand legal education in Ghana, at the academic enclave near the University of Ghana Business School.
Emphasizing his stance, President Akufo-Addo said “apart from the criminal violations in Act 703 (The Minerals Act), the activities of such persons (Illegal Miners) desecrates our environment, pollutes our water bodies and endanger the lives of present and future generations of Ghanaians”.
The President described illegal mining as “monumental crimes which should not be condoned in any shape or form”.
“The presence of changfans in water bodies is illegal as is the unlawful use of excavators in protected forest zones. The devastation caused by this equipment is nothing short of evil and we should not compromise in our efforts to protect our environment, forest reserves and water bodies,” President Akufo-Addo added.
On the subject of the rights of the owners of the equipment being used for illegal mining, President Akufo-Addo did not mince words, “I say with all the emphasis at my command that no rights can accrue to or flow from the criminal venture of Galamsey. The equipment which is being used for the illegal or criminal purpose cannot confer on the owner or any other person any rights whatsoever”.
The President charged the people of Ghana as well as the political establishment in the nation to rally behind his administration has it fights the “Galamsey” phenomenon in the country.
“I appeal to all Ghanaians including many in the opposition who are so doing to rally behind government in its efforts to stamp out far-reaching illegality and criminality rather than advocate for the protection of non-existing rights of persons caught in this evil activity,” President Akufo-Addo said.