The Member of Parliament (MP) for Tamale Central in the Northern Region, Mr. Ibrahim Murtala Mohammed, has condemned President Nana Akufo-Addo’s justification of the burning of excavators and other mining equipment by members of the government’s ‘Operation Halt’ team.
Mr. Murtala insists the President Akufo-Addo’s comments are “reckless and scandalous”.
President Akufo-Addo on Wednesday, May 26, 2021, asked persons who are dissatisfied with the government’s approach in dealing with the ‘galamsey’ menace, particularly the burning of excavators and other equipment to “go to court to vindicate their position”.
The President said he remains strongly opposed to the activity of illegal mining and the destruction of the country’s land, water, and forest resources, and will ensure that everything possible is done to stop such 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,” Akufo-Addo said.
But speaking on Citi TV‘s Breakfast Daily programme on Thursday, May 27, 2021, Ibrahim Murtala Mohammed said the burning of the excavators is illegal per the Minerals and Mining Act, Act 995.
He said President Akufo-Addo being the first gentleman of the land should be the last person to attempt flouting the laws of the land.
“This country is a country that is ruled by laws and perhaps the President was presumably ignorant of the Act (Minerals and Mining Act), but I don’t think that he was. I just think he was just being reckless in his statement, and I say so because he is a lawyer of good standing, and he has been in practice for a long time. I believe that at the time, the Minerals and Mining Act of this country was passed, he was an MP, and he ought to have known that there are laws governing the conduct of those who engage in that business (galamsey), and it is scandalous more so when you have a country that is ruled by laws and the conduct of every single individual in this country is determined by rules and regulations including the conduct of the President.”
“For him, regardless of these palpable laws as stated and known to him and having said what he said, clearly, it is reckless on his part.”
The Tamale Central lawmaker also chastised President Akufo-Addo for not sanctioning some members of his government for their alleged involvement in the menace.
This he says makes him (President Akufo-Addo), an accomplice of their acts.
“Where we are now, it is as a result of the inept and the consciousness to protect those who are engaged in galamsey. There is no sincere desire to fight this menace because he, the President is an accomplice of the galamsey menace. People who were caught on tape taking money in the name of galamsey are still at post.”