The General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr John Boadu has endorsed the destruction of excavators being used for illegal mining (galamsey) in Ghana.
To him, the burning of the excavators was a sure way to help stop the menace which has led to the destruction of water bodies and many forests in Ghana.
Unlike previous attempts to flush out illegal miners from Ghana’s water bodies and forest reserves, the government has decided that all equipment that will be seized under the new effort to end galamsey will be destroyed on-site.
Already, military personnel under the command of their superiors have destroyed a number of excavators, changfans (washing machines) and other equipment.
They detonated them on site.
There has been some public concerns on the destruction of the equipment, especially excavators on site with some suggesting that, they should rather be seized and allow the court processes to determine what should be done with them.
Some have also suggested that many politicians were the ones behind illegal mining and hence the fight may fail again.
In a radio interview monitored by Graphic Online on Accra based Okay FM on Tuesday morning (May 25, 2021), the General Secretary of the NPP, Mr John Boadu expressed the party’s support for the fight.
He disagreed with suggestions that he was personally engaged in illegal mining and said he was not involved in mining for him to even venture into illegal mining (galamsey).
He said he has received many reports suggesting that he was involved in illegal mining together with some other politicians to the extent that, some people have been using his name and claiming that certain mining sites and equipment including excavators belonged to him [John Boadu].
To disapprove that notion, he has therefore urged the security officers involved in Operation Halt to destroy any illegal mining site or equipment they come across which people claim that it belonged to him [John Boadu].
Mr Boadu said the sponsors of those illegal activities were deliberately using him as a decoy in an attempt to tarnish his image or probably to seek illegal favors from the security officers.
He indicated his disapproval of such acts and insisted he has not commissioned anybody to go on such a venture.
He appealed to security officers not to hesitate in destroying those equipment should anybody dare mention “John Boadu” as the owner.
In 2017, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo made a promise to fight illegal mining head-on, even if it would cost him the next election.
Subsequently, a ban was placed on all forms of small-scale mining in the country as a measure to sanitise the sector.
That was followed by the deployment of Operation Vanguard, a joint military and police team to mining communities to crack down on the activities of illegal miners.
Other measures included the setting up of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM) to oversee the galamsey fight.
In the course of the fight against galamsey activities, the Operation Vanguard taskforce seized some excavators and mining equipment.
The Chairman of the IMCIM and the then Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation at the time, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, said 500 of the seized excavators had gone missing.
However, when the then Minister-designate for Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor appeared before the vetting committee of Parliament he assured that a new committee would take steps to unravel the mystery behind the missing excavators.
The five-member committee is to take inventory of the excavators and other equipment that were seized over the past four years in the fight against illegal mining.
It is chaired by the Advisor on Mines to the Minister at the Lands and Natural Resources Ministry, Mr Ben Aryee.
Other members are from the Minerals Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).