From Ernest Best Anane, Kumasi .
Though the presidential taskforce, Operation Vanguard, which was formed to enforce the ban on illegal mining, has achieved some level of success, others also think otherwise. One of these people is Nana Kwabena Gyamerah Oyeakwan, Kwapiahene, in the Adansi North District of the Ashanti Region.
To him the ‘Operation Vanguard’ team is rather aiding illegal mining (galamsey) at Akatakyieso near Kwapia, and that taskforce has failed Ghanaians.
According to him, he had done everything within his power to stop the over 3,000 illegal miners in the area by reporting their activities to the Fomena District Police Commander, yet very little or nothing has been done about the situation.
According to the Chief, he even attempted calling on Nana Brobbey, who is the Odikro of the community, to help stop their operations at the site, but Nana Brobbey allegedly threatened him with the military if he dared visit any of the galamsey sites in the area.
According to Nana Kwabena Gyamerah Oyeakwan, the District Chief Executive for the area had also tried to meet with some of the chiefs about the situation to no avail.
The Chief complained that any time the Operation Vanguard team is alerted about the activities of the illegal miners, the military men would respond positively and visit the sites, only to be bribed and allow them (illegal miners) to continue with their operations.
He noted with concern that ‘Operation Vanguard’ is now a toothless dog barking loudly but unable to bite.
Again, the Chief failed to provide any evidence about the bribery allegation against the taskforce members, but called on President Akufo-Addo to intervene, as a matter of urgency, to safeguard water bodies in the area from the operations of the illegal miners.
The head of the Operation Vanguard team, Colonel Konadu, has, meanwhile, denied the allegation being made against his men by the Chief. He dared Nana Kwabena Gyamerah Oyeakwan to provide him with evidence that taskforce members were collecting bribes and allowing the illegal miners to work.
Colonel Konadu admitted that the area the Chief is complaining about has been inundated by the illegal miners. He, however, regretted that any time his men try to move in to arrest the perpetrators, the local community members would alert the miners on phone that the soldiers were coming, and they would all run away.
The Commander was, therefore, surprised that the local people, who are aiding the illegal miners, would turn round to accuse them of collecting bribes and allowing the miners to work.