Editorial: Prestea Hunni-Valley MP deserves commendation

The Member of Parliament (MP) for Prestea Hunni-Valley in the Western Region, Robert Wisdom Cudjoe, has expressed fear that the Atwerboanda Forest in his constituency may soon be destroyed because of illegal mining.

Mr. Cudjoe has categorically mentioned that the massive destruction of the forest was being carried out by foreigners, with some Ghanaians providing cover.

According to him, while some of the foreigners were engaged in illegal mining and the destruction of water bodies, others were also busy felling timber trees in the forest.

The Legislator further alleged that some concerned youth of the area became alarmed by the nefarious activities of the said foreigners in the forest, and stormed the site to stop them.

Mr. Cudjoe indicated that he had personally informed the Minerals Commission (MC) and the Forestry Commission (FC) about this development.

He again mentioned that he had told the Municipal Security Council (MUSEC) and the Regional Security Council (REGSEC) about the illegal activities, but there had been no response.

It is important to place on record that since The Chronicle carried this particular report in a previous edition, none of the aforementioned institutions or individuals has denied it.

The paper, therefore, finds this ugly development, not just worrying, but also devastating and heartbreaking. We wonder how foreigners could courageously mine in the Atwerboanda Forest without lawful authority.

Our utmost surprise stems from the fact that, per the laws of the country, any form of mining without the necessary documentation is deemed illegal and even Ghanaians are prohibited from doing so.

This explains why Operation Gallamstop and other taskforces were commissioned to stem the canker after illegal mining had destroyed almost all rivers across the country.

We, therefore, simply could not fathom how a whole forest reserve could be taken over and destroyed by foreigners under the guise of mineral exploration.

Undoubtedly, we would like to associate ourselves with a provocative comment made by the former Chinese Ambassador to Ghana, Mr. Shi Ting Wang, that Ghanaians aid the Chinese to destroy our forests.

He stated categorically that: “We don’t know where your gold is. We don’t issue visas too for Chinese people coming to Ghana. Ghanaians issue the visas.”

Mr/ Wang added: “Ghanaians aid the Chinese to where they can find your gold. Why are Chinese not doing illegal mining in South Africa where there is also a lot of gold?”

In view of this, we want to doff off our hats to the MP for being courageous and frank in his quest to preserve the forest reserve in his constituency, and the country at large.

It is a fact that all illegal mining sites across the country are within the jurisdictions of our MPs, who are obviously aware of the concomitant effects these activities are having on us as a people.

However, some of them have allegedly become accomplices, direct or indirect participants, beneficiaries, or financiers of these activities, which have criminally poisoned our water bodies.

We are throwing a big challenge to our respected members of parliament to demonstrate strong anger and massive disapproval of the canker and report the activities of galamseyers in their constituencies.

With respect to the wanton destruction of the Atwerboanda Forest, we would be highly disappointed if, indeed, such illegal activities were reported to the respected authorities, but they woefully refuse to take action.

The Military High Command must be highly interested in this particular case and quickly deploy officers to the place to help curb the destruction being perpetrated.

Enough of the senseless destruction of our water bodies and forest reserves!


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