The suggestion by the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon Lawyer Joe Osei-Owusu as the preferred option in the fight against illegal mining has been seen as the best option by a former traditional ruler.
Nana Ninsin-Imbeah II, ex-Nyimfahen of the Mfantseman Council in Ashanti has stated that, the preference of the First Deputy Speaker is right because it will help to inject decency and sanity in the fight against illegal mining.
The First Deputy Speaker of Parliament is pushing for the security agencies to be given the power to shoot to kill those involved in illegal mining, claiming that it is the best option to deter criminals from engaging in the act.
The First Deputy Speaker was contributing to a statement on the floor of Parliament by Kumbugu legislator, Ras Mubarak, who condemned the recent burning of trucks in his constituency by the military.
“Extreme behaviour must be met with an extreme response. We are dealing with people who are determined at every point to make their money without regards to what they are doing to the environment,” Rt Hon Joe Osei-Owusu said.
An anti-galamsey taskforce, made up of the police and military, named Operation Vanguard, was launched last year to fight the activities of ‘galamseyers’ and to protect the environment.
The joint police-military task force has encountered a big challenge, as many people have been arrested on site for engaging in such illegal activities, even in the face of the ban.
The Bekwai MP and Deputy Speaker, who is obviously fed-up with the recalcitrant nature of the illegal miners, said if he had his own way, he would have enacted a law that will empower the military to shoot such people on sight.
“Sometimes we need to be strong on wrongdoers. We are pampering wrongdoers in this country too much…and they are not many anyway.
“Mr. Speaker, we should stand by the military, Operation Vanguard and we should all stand together to ensure that our water bodies are clean and safe,” he added.
The Second Deputy Speaker, Alban Bagbin, however, disagreed. He believes extreme measures are not the way to go in the fight against illegal mining.
“It is only the military that is trained in war situations to shoot to kill, ‘one man one bullet’…I don’t think we are at that stage now…I don’t support any Ghanaian killing any Ghanaian…,” he said.
He suggested persuasion and dialogue with the illegal miners and a concerted national effort to stop the menace.
But Nana Ninsin-Imbeah II has defended the Deputy Speaker, stating that illegal mining has degraded farmlands and the environment and also destroyed water bodies. He, therefore, called on all right thinking members of the Ghanaian public to support the National crusade against such activities.
According to the ex-chief, the “Shoot-to-kill” must be applied to keep those involved in the illegality without any restraint.
Nana Ninsin-Imbeah said the position of the First Deputy Speaker does not make him “callous and insensitive” because he has voted to save our water bodies and farmlands from pollution and degradation, as well as protect the environment.
The chief criticised those who claim the MP’s call to “shoot-to-kill” is too harsh and extreme.
To him, what those opposed to the comment of the legislature are saying is that “we, as a nation, should kick against the operations of Operation Vanguard, the National Anti-Galamsey Task Force.
“The Bekwai law maker cares for our survival and our future and that of the generation yet to be born”, the ex-chief has stated.
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