GAF Is Not Involved In ‘Galamsey’

 

On Friday 5 May 2017, the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) monitored Joy FM’s Super Morning Show during which the host, Kojo Yankson and some panelists discussed a reported confidential National Security document which was supposedly intercepted by a Reporter, Raymond Acquah, alleging the involvement of GAF in illegal mining activities (galamsey) at Banda Nkwanta in the general area of the Bui Dam.

GAF wishes to express its utter dismay at the judgment and conclusions drawn by panelists on the morning show as well as subsequent news reports, without seeking the position of GAF on the matter before going ahead to discredit the military in its entirety. Indeed, contrary to what was alleged in the reportage, the GAF was never invited to participate in the forum and to state its position.

It is common knowledge that GAF does not seek to engage in self publicity. However, in the wake of the said panelists’ discussions and the impression the Joy FM report sought to create, it has become imperative to clarify the position of GAF.

As part of its Internal Security operations in support of civil authorities, GAF personnel are deployed across the country to perform numerous operational roles in order to safeguard the integrity and security of the state and to preserve the environment. Some of these personnel deployed under ‘OPERATION HALT’ are tasked to support efforts at curbing illegal mining activities and to provide security at state-sanctioned mining sites and concessions to ward off illegal miners, robbery attacks and encroachment.

In this regard, GAF has officially deployed personnel at Anglogold Ashanti mining sites and concessions. Under the same guiding principle of providing security to enhance socio-economic activities, such support could be extended to certified corporate bodies which require assistance. Examples include protection of the mining concessions of the Canada-Ghana Mining Company whose property worth thousands of dollars was vandalized at Sraha in the Wassa Amenfi District.

In the case of the personnel deployed at Banda Nkwanta as reported by Joy FM, GAF wishes to state categorically that these personnel are deployed to check illegal fishing, lumbering, pollution and other activities that are deemed detrimental to the smooth operations of the Bui Dam. Therefore, the assertion that GAF has deployed personnel to provide security at an illegal mining concession at Banda Nkwanta or to superintend over illegal mining is completely erroneous.

The commitment of GAF in enforcing the directives and ultimatum to halt ‘galamsey’ operations is demonstrated in the resolve of the Military High Command to deal with both perpetrators and collaborators. For example, where service personnel have been identified or arrested for assisting or engaging in any activity or unauthorized operations in relation to illegal mining, they have been dealt with in accordance with the applicable Armed Forces Regulations. On 28 March 2017 three ex-service men dressed in assorted military uniforms were picked up by a military patrol team for extortion and other activities in relation to illegal small scale mining at Wassa Akropong. The ex-service men were handed over to the civil police for further investigations and prosecution.

The Military High Command does not condone any acts of indiscipline involving its personnel but it is worth stating it is not always that our internal disciplinary measures are brought into the public domain. However, every misdemeanor that prejudices our service code of discipline is promptly investigated and dealt with. In this regard, the Military High Command will be happy to receive any evidence of misconduct for immediate action.

GAF further wishes to state that it is wholly in support and involved in all the strategies designed at halting illegal mining in the country. Indeed, the GAF has contributed positively in crafting anti-galamsey plans. GAF also acknowledges the vital role being played by the Media Coalition Against Galamsey. However, in order not to undermine or discredit the important roles of a major stakeholder, like GAF, in the fight against galamsey, it is very important that media houses cross check their facts with GAF or other institutions for clarifications on any reports before going public.

On the confidential National Security report allegedly intercepted by the Reporter, it must be placed on record that GAF is yet to receive any such report and therefore is unable to comment directly on it at this material time.

E AGGREY-QUASHIE
Colonel
Director Public Relations

 

Source: Peace Fm online

AfDB and UN Environment launch the ‘Atlas of Africa Energy Resources‘at the World Economic Forum for Africa in Durban, South Africa

 

On 4 May 2017, at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Durban South Africa, the African Development Bank’s Vice-President Power for Energy, Climate and Green Growth, Amadou Hott and the UN Environment Regional Director, Juliette Biao Koudenoukpo, launched one the most important publications in the energy sector, the ‘Atlas of Africa Energy Resources.’ In the presence of representatives of the private sector, key African institutions and Civil Society organizations, Hott highlighted the importance and benefits the publication of the Atlas represent. “We have no doubt that this Atlas will be instrumental in facilitating ease of access to information and data in the energy sector for all stakeholders, including the donor community, African Governments and the private sector,” he said.

He added that development institutions will benefit from the Atlas. “At the African Development Bank, we are convinced that this Atlas will assist us in implementing our ambitious programme under the New Deal on Energy for Africa, whose main objective is to achieve universal energy access in Africa by 2025, Hott said, adding that this would entail providing electricity access to over 200 million households and clean cooking access to around 150 million households.

The Atlas of Africa Energy Resources was produced by the Infrastructure Consortium for Africa (ICA) in partnership with the UN Environment and the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA). The ICA and SEFA are both hosted by the African Development Bank. A G8 initiative, the main objective of the ICA is to increase investments for infrastructure development in Africa, from both public and private sources. SEFA provides resources for renewable energy project preparation and equity investments, as well as technical assistance to African institutions in improving the enabling environment for private investments.

The Atlas of Africa Energy Resources features over 64 maps and 73 satellite images as well as some 50 graphics and hundreds of compelling photos. The Atlas makes a major contribution to knowledge on Africa’s energy sector by highlighting the opportunities and challenges for sustainable development of the energy resources on the continent.

The Atlas, including individual satellite images and other graphics can be downloaded from the website of the ICA and from UN Environment.

 

Source: The African Development Bank Group

 

War Against Schools Bedbugs

By: Charles Takyi-Boadu

Growing concerns of bedbug infestation in the dormitories and hostels of some schools across the country have compelled management of Inesfly Africa Limited to roll out a programme to curb the menace.

The company is therefore set to undertake a fumigation programme in selected educational institutions.

It has also designed a 500ml bedbug solution exclusively for students.

Explaining the rationale behind the strategy, chief commercial officer at Inesfly Africa, David Afugani, said the plight of students had always been an integral part of Inesfly’s vision, and that the company could not but do whatever that needs to be done to ensure that they (students) are free from insect-pests so that they can carry on with their learning activities.

“Students need a very conducive learning environment devoid of the fear of insect bites and vector transmitted diseases. Sadly, this is not the case, and very soon, situation will get out of hand if nothing is done.  Inesfly Africa has the one-stop solution to fighting bedbugs and other insect-pests, and we believe that while liaising with the relevant stakeholders to deliver our promise, we can, in the meantime, meet students half-way in addressing the crisis,” he told this paper in an interview.

Two weeks ago, Inesfly Africa painted 10 CHPS compounds in 10 districts of the Greater Accra Region, adding to the number of district, regional and private hospitals treated by the company. The company has also in collaboration with the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, drawn a programme to ensure that public toilets in the capital city are rid of insect-vectors.

With the current campaign to reach out to students with the 500ml bedbug solution, Inesfly Africa is certain that that would significantly curb the spread of bedbugs in schools and reduce the risk of onward transfer to the  homes.

 

Source: modernghana.com

Sanitation authority needed to enforce laws – ESPA

By: Jonas Nyabor, citifmonline.com

he Environmental Service Providers Association (ESPA) believes that Ghana’s sanitation problems can best be addressed when the government takes serious steps to enforce the country’s sanitation by-laws.

It said there is the need for the creation of a sanitation authority to coordinate efforts of all sanitation stakeholders to ensure that the cities are clean.

The Executive Secretary of ESPA, Ama Ofori-Antwi in an interview on Eyewitness News on Friday expressed fear that there would be a duplication of roles by some government ministries and departments such as the Ministry for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Ministry for Sanitation and Water resources as well as the Local Government Ministry if the authority is not created.

“What I will recommend to the government is a sanitation authority, because what is happening now is that we have a lot of duplication. We have Local Government ministry, MESTI and now Sanitation and Water resource ministry….[We need] the authority so that everything on sanitation goes through the authority to ensure that we have the city clean, which can be done.”

Ama Ofori-Antwi said although the government has expressed some political will and commitment to addressing the issue of filth especially in the capital, Accra.

Series of news reports gathered by Citi News in the last week shows that there is a worsening sanitation crisis in the capital with city authorities struggling to deal with the situation.

Sections of major roads in the capital have been taken over by filth, usually dumped there by residents in nearby areas.

The problem reveals an apparent inability of the relevant bodies to effectively manage waste generated in the capital especially those generated domestically.

But the Executive Secretary of ESPA says Ghanaians need to be oriented to change their attitudes with regards to managing their waste while enforcement agencies are deployed to ensure that they comply with the laid down sanitation laws.

“I think Attitude is one key thing that needs to be addressed… It is about time our laws are enforced. We need an enforcement of the sanitation bylaws. If the laws were being enforced, we wouldn’t be where we are. It is a very complicated thing that needs a holistic approach in solving it.”

 

Source: modernghana.com

Make groundnut farming part of Planting for food and jobs – SADA-CSOs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Coalition of the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority Civil Society Organisations (SADA-CSOs), have appealed to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to make groundnut farming part of his ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ Initiatives.

According to SADA-CSOs, groundnuts had been identified as one of the major cash crops with huge export potentials for the country as the Northern Savannah Ecological Zones (NSEZ), had the greatest comparative advantage.

Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Bolgatanga on Monday, the Executive Director of the SADA-CSOs, Mr Bismark Adongo, explained that unlike other crops, the growth of groundnuts required less capital injection into its farming since the crop relied on the fixation of nitrogen for its growth and could also be cropped four times in a year.

“Ghana, with its favourable climatic conditions and abundant rich soil, has a comparative and competitive advantage in groundnuts and hence is well-positioned to take advantage of international market opportunities to develop the sector,” he said.

He stressed that viewing the huge export potentials of groundnuts, there was the need for government, the private sector and NGOs to invest the needed resources in the sector to help reduce poverty in Northern Ghana.

He stated that apart from groundnut farming having the greatest potentials of contributing to poverty reduction, it is one of the areas where many women farmers engaged in each season.

The SADA-CSOs noted that the groundnut production fit into government’s policy of one District One factory and Village One Dam policy and stated that the implementation of the groundnut farming initiative could be improved and expanded for export.

 

Source: Ghana Business News

Rainstorm displaces 850 people in Bawku

Rainstorm has hit some parts of Bawku and its environs displacing about 850 people and destroying homes and other public property estimated to cost about Gh¢500,000.

The National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), in the Bawku Municipality attributed the huge destruction of public structures, especially educational institutions to shoddy work executed by government hired contractors.

Numerous basic educational institutions and health facilities were ripped up, while some classrooms of the Bawku senior high and Bawku Technical schools were also affected.

Besides, about 350 homes were destroyed in the Bawku town, while property including shops, market sheds, garages, cars, among others were affected.

Mr Sulemana Musah, Deputy Chief Disaster Control Officer in charge of the Bawku Municipal office of the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) confirmed the ripping up of the roofs of the numerous basic educational institutions and health facilities and the destruction of some classrooms of the Bawku Senior High and the Bawku Secondary/ Technical Schools.

He attributed the damage to the public institutions to shoddy work by contractors and said on April 2, about 52 rooms and 300 people in the Baribari community were affected by the storm, while on April 30 of the same month, houses in communities including Jantiga, Kpweliwiaga, Sabone-Gari, South and North Natinga, Sabone-Zongo, Hausa –Zongo and Gingande had their share of the disasters.

The Bawkzua, Patilmey, Pussom, and the Daduri communities, were severely affected rendering most of the people homeless.

Mr Musah lamented that most of the trees that supported the houses against storms fell on houses destroying them and other property.

He said even though the situation was worrying, no death and casualties were recorded in the municipality and its environs from the storm.

Mr Musah said NADMO was collaborating with the Bawku Municipal Assembly to secure roofing sheets, nails, plywood, cements, mattresses, buckets, and blankets to help the affected victims.

The NADMO officer called on the people to take safety precautions by contracting qualified artisans to build their houses to avoid reoccurring disasters.

He said some of the private facilities affected used inferior building materials without any professional supervision and the public to go in for quality materials and engage professionals to help them with all types of construction business they undertake.

Alhaji Inusah Abubakar, Bawku Municipal Coordinating Director, expressed worry about the extent of the destruction in the area and said steps were being taken to avert similar disasters in future.

Alhaji Abubakar noted that government was committed to ensuring the safety of residence in the Bawku area and urged the people to support the effort by ensuring that their activities led to a disaster free environment.

He called on the residents to plant trees around their homes as the area was located within a sub-desert reach.

 

Source: Ghana Business News

Forestry Commission to strengthen permit regime

The Forestry Commission says it is reviewing and strengthening its permit regime to effectively regulate the exploitation of Rosewood harvesting in line with the agreement of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

Deputy Chief Executive of the Forestry Commission, Mr John Allotey, told a press conference on Thursday that future extraction of all Rosewood would be based on the CITES approved yearly volume quota for the country.

He said the Commission would also be tasked to ensure domestic processing of Rosewood logs for value addition prior to export to overseas markets.

Mr Allottey said the review of the permits regime and the adoption of stringent measures in the industry were necessary to avoid utilisation levels that would negatively impact their survival.

He noted that all permits in respect of the harvesting, transport and export of Rosewood expired on the December 31, 2016 under a ‘stop-work’ order issued by the Commission, and that all existing agreements for the removal of trees from the Bui Dam enclave were revoked.

“Sector Ministry conducted investigation and revealed that large volumes of Rosewood were being harvested indiscriminately particularly in the three Northern Regions, which poses threats to the forest cover in the regions.”

He said as a result of that, the Minister placed a ban on the harvesting, transporting and exporting of Rosewood in the country, but reports indicated that the activity still persisted which aggravated the threat of environmental degradation and its effects.

He said the four companies, which were given permits under the Bui Dam agreement to remove trees within the enclave and fairways and had not settled their debts with the Bui Authorities would lose any existing stock recorded in their names.

Mr Allotey said in line with the earlier directive which was issued on February 10, 2017, a total of 361 containers of Rosewood belonging to different companies had been impounded and currently located at the ports and some wood depots across the country.

He said to decongest the port and depots, companies would be granted a one-off CITES permit to enable them dispose off their consignments in view of the fact they have already paid all statutory fees to the Commission.

He said all companies would be expected to pay appropriate penalties on consignments for flouting the December 30, 2016 ‘stop-work’ order, explaining that it was only after payment of the penalties that the Commission would grant clearance for CITES certificates to be issued to enable shipment of the exiting seized stocks.

Mr Allotey said the affected companies had been given a two-month notice to complete the exercise.

 

Source: Ghana business news

World Fire Fighters Day Marked

By:  A.R. Gomda

Albert Brown-Gaisie

 

The Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) yesterday joined their counterparts around the world to mark World Fire Fighters Day.

It is a day set aside to recognize the role of fighters in saving lives and preventing fires and to pay tributes to those who lost their lives in the line of duty.

In Ghana the day was marked in the various fire stations around the country.

The Chief Fire Officer (CFO) Dr. Albert Brown-Gaisie, who took the opportunity of the occasion to talk to the media, asked that corporate organizations create hotlines to the GNFS with a view to calling for assistance when this becomes necessary, adding that such bodies institute measures that would assist in fire prevention.

The CFO pointed at the acquisition of early warning gadgets such as smoke detectors, sprinklers and risers, which corporate organizations must acquire.

According to him, since small fires become big ones it is necessary that they are curbed with the relevant gadgets in their early stages.

The Fire Chief had earlier undertaken a fire audit of selected public organizations in Accra with a view to assessing their fire safety standards.

While assuring the public that the GNFS is always ready to protect lives and property, he called for collaboration from corporate organizations and individuals in this direction.

Members of the public, he said, should learn and appreciate the functions of firefighters.

He called on personnel of the GNFS to protect the corporate image of the organization by being professional and avoid conducts, which have the tendency to bring the Service into disrepute.

To the media, he said “I entreat you to seek clarification to issues when the need arises.”

In the past one year or so many more fire stations have been opened around the country with personnel heightening public education about fire safety.

The Circle fire disaster has gone down as the worst in contemporary times and one which tested the efficiency and professionalism of the GNFS, a test which they passed with excellence, given their rating by members of the public at the time.

 

Source: modernghana.com

Catholic Father Fights Galamsey

By:  Sarah Afful, Jukwa

The priest in-charge of Jukwa Krobo Grotto Catholic Archdiocese of Cape Coast in the Central Region, Rev. Fr. David Obeng Paintsil, has stressed the need for all Christians and Muslims of good will in the country to offer prayers on the first Sunday and first Friday of every month respectively to end illegal mining popularly known as galamsey.

According to him, the government, the media and civil society cannot succeed in this campaign without prayers.

He indicated that the situation at hand is so complex that human efforts are not enough to combat it.

Rev Fr Paintsil made this observation at a press conference held in the area.

He stressed the need for all to pray for divine intervention to touch the hearts of both the big and ordinary men behind the business that has dire consequences on the environment and life.

“This would also give the government and the media the will power and the spirit of perseverance to end the canker as well as give spiritual protection to all who were involved in this campaign, especially the sector minister and the media,” he said.

Rev Fr Paintsil entreated pastors and Imams to educate the youth on the hazards of the galamsey menace, and the effect of illegal mining activities in the country.

He noted that the government would get a lasting and sustainable solution to this national problem if people make up their minds to help save the lands and water bodies for the sake of posterity.

“This current state of the galamsey menace has depleted the hitherto rich farming lands and water bodies and one can no longer rely on the natural rivers for water consumption since they have been poisoned by dangerous chemicals from the activities of galamsey,” he lamented.

The priest added that there had been several attempts by successive governments and civil society organizations to deal with the menace in various ways but all such attempts landed on rocks.

Rev Fr Paintsil noted that the current campaign launched by the media and the government is in the right direction.

 

Source: modernghana.com

Government to strengthen Social Protection interventions for galamsey communities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Child Rights International (CRI), a non-governmental Organisation has called on the government to make its Social Protection (SP), interventions known in the handling and the stoppage of ‘galamsey’ activities in the country.

The Organisation, which based its call on facts gathered from a survey it conducted in eight districts to ascertain the prevalence of child labour in mining communities, said over 2,092 children were found to be at high risk of hazardous works, including ‘galamsey’ operations in these area.

It said in the districts, which involved the Atwima Mponua, Atwima Nwabiagya, Bibiani, Asunafo South, Asutifi North and South, as well as the Ahafo Ano North and South, there were at least a family member in each of the sampled households who was engaged in illegal mining, and a total of 30 children identified to be working constantly in ‘galamsey’.

Mr Bright Appiah, the Executive Director, Child Rights International, who made the call at a press conference in Accra Thursday, applauded government for the tremendous intervention in stopping the ‘galamsey’ menace, and pledged the total support of the CRI in fighting the course to the end.

He, however, said in carrying out measures to halt ‘galamsey’ “we have to give attention to Social and Child Protection issues in the mining areas”, with the knowledge that children were also involved in the practice, which was a threat not only to their lives, but also to the country as it stood the risk of losing great leaders by record of a high school dropout rate.

The country would soon face the consequences of witnessing increases in children’s vulnerability to diseases due to the pollution of the environment if the situation was not quickly addressed, he said.

Mr Appiah said there was the need for government to look at the social protection implications on people, including children and put in place sustainable livelihood empowerment programmes as an alternative, to draw the affected into the social safety net.

He suggested to the government to take the appropriate steps to investigate the condition of children and households in the ‘galamsey’ endemic communities in order to support their welfare, rehabilitation and re-integration into mainstream society.

He said identifying such children would enable the government to withdraw them and develop remediation plans for their families.

He asked that much engagement and collaboration with formal and informal community structures, including traditional systems, Child Protection Committees, School Management Committees, Social Welfare as well as the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit of the Ghana Police Service, and building their capacities to be pursued to achieve effective outcomes.

 

Source: Ghana business news