Rioting fishermen disrupt inauguration of volunteer group

By: Gabriel Ahiabor

Policemen and Navy personnel preventing the demonstrators from causing harm

Policemen and Navy personnel preventing the demonstrators from causing harm

Rioting by a group of fishermen numbering over 500 temporarily disrupted the inauguration of a fisheries watch volunteer group at Otrokpeh, near Big Ada in the Ada East District in the Greater Accra Region last Friday.

The volunteer group was being inaugurated by the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (MoFAD), Mrs Elizabeth Afoley Quaye.

The fisheries watch volunteer group is an initiative by the Fisheries Commission and its stakeholders. The groups are to monitor the beaches to enforce fishing regulations and infractions and assist in the prosecution of fisheries violations.

They are also to patrol both sea and land to ensure that canoes that are being used are duly registered.

At exactly 10 a.m., some fishermen from Ada and its environs started the protest, vowing to prevent the minister from swearing in the 50-member volunteer group selected from the Ada East District and the Accra Metropolitan Assembly.

They destroyed canopies and plastic chairs at the venue for the event and verbally assaulted the minister and her entourage.

It took the police more than an hour to bring the irate youth who had massed up at the scene, amid the chanting of war songs, under control.

Lack of consultation

Mr Enoch Ayittey Tawiah, a former assembly member for Otrokpeh and fisherman, in an interview with the Daily Graphic, said the fishermen in the area were not consulted by the ministry before forming the volunteer group.

He said the government should have involved them in the decision-making process before the formation of the group and its subsequent inauguration.

According to him, the fishermen were not against any decision by the government to restore marine resources, adding: “All we needed was to be made part of the management of the fisheries resources.”

Event

The event eventually came off amid tight security.

Inaugurating the volunteers, Mrs Afoley Quaye said part of the objectives of the government’s fisheries management plan was to strengthen participatory decision making in the sector.

She said an arrangement known as ‘co-management’ enabled the responsibility of managing the resources to be shared between user groups and the government, adding: “It will also create opportunity for both the community and the government to be involved in the decision-making, implementation and enforcement processes.”

According to her, the low level of decline in fish production was as a result of the rampant use of unauthorised fishing gear such as monofilament nets and light fishing and the use of poisonous substances and explosives in fishing.

Advice

The minister advised the volunteers to be firm in carrying out their mandate and also operate within the laws of the country to bring sanity into the fishing industry.

She assured them of the backing of the ministry, the Ghana Navy, the Marine Police and the Judiciary in their operations.

About 10 per cent of Ghana’s population depends directly or indirectly on the fisheries sector for their livelihood.

The sector contributes 1.2 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product. However, the fish stock is declining as a result of over-capacity, over-fishing and illegal fishing.

 

Source: Graphic online

Begoro farmers want gov’t to fast track one-village one-dam plan

By: Joseph Opoku Gakpo, Myjoyonline.com

 

Farmers at Begoro in the Eastern Region are appealing to government to fast-track efforts at fulfilling its one-village one-dam electoral promise to ensure sustainable vegetable production there.

The farmers have over the years relied on stagnant, dirty and polluted sources to get water to irrigate their vegetables. Farmers at Beregoro grow mainly lettuce, pepper, garden eggs and other vegetables.

These crops require constant watering, else they wilt and die. The farmers claim relying on the polluted water sources has been a major source of fungus infection on their farms which they struggle to deal with.

“The water we rely on is the cause of the fungus infection. Animals including cattle do walk in the stagnant stream and drink from it. In the process, they infect it with the microorganism.

“The moment you use it to water your crops, the fungus then attack the roots of the plants,” Danso Samuel who is a member of the Export Farmers Association in Begoro told Joy News.

The farmers say the destruction by the fungus usually delves a heavy blow to them, as they are unable to harvest enough yield. “The fungus destroys the seedlings, thus causing them to rot. And then they fall,” Danso explained.

“The water is not hygienic. Government should construct mini dams and boreholes for us to make use of in our activities,” he added.

Obed Asiamah, another farmer in the community noted there is the need for vegetables to be grown at places close to water bodies, hence farmers decided to dam a nearby stream allow them to use it for their operations.

But he says it is proving counterproductive now and says it is about time that government acted on their plight.

“We are begging the government to come to our aid. When Nana Addo, was campaigning, he promised one village and one dam. He should quickly fulfill this promise so as to bring us, farmers, some relief,” Asiamah added.

“We started this on our own and dug this but clearly, we need a properly dug out dam. We have built this and now we want government to speedily come and support us in the one-village one-dam policy,” he stated.

Whilst campaigning ahead of elections last year, Flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), and now President Akufo-Addo promised that if he wins the polls, every farming village will get a dam as part of efforts to ensure all year round production of food to help make the country a net food exporter.

Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta announced in the 2017 budget statement delivered to parliament that an amount of 89 million cedis had been allocated for the policy. But ground works to allow for the digging up of the dams are yet to begin.

The Agric Ministry recently announced that an Israeli company, Commercial Project Management Africa has expressed interest in partnering government to construct the dams.

Now, the farmers at Begoro say they are awaiting the speedy fulfillment of the promise to ensure the challenge with irrigation is dealt with once and for all.

Source: modernghana.com

Engineer advocates ban of pit latrine

Agyina (BA), May 8, GNA – Mr Patrick Kwakye, the Kintampo South District Assembly Engineer, has called for a legislative Instrument to ban the construction and use of pit latrines in local communities.

He observed that the poor use and maintenance of pit latrines were the causes of cholera outbreaks and other intestinal diseases.

Mr Agyina was addressing the chiefs and people of Agyina, a farming community in the Kintampo South District to sensitise them on a sanitation programme launched in the district.

Dubbed ‘Community Led Total Sanitation’, the programme was initiated by Kintampo South District Assembly in collaboration with World Vision International Ghana, and is aimed at combating open defecation in the communities.

He explained that a modern household toilet ought to be promoted, explaining that Legislative Instrument would force landlords to build the in-house toilets.

Mr Kwakye said the district Assembly and the World vision had developed such household toilets which were very affordable adding that with support from the world vision, such toilets would be constructed in deprived households in the district on pilot basis.

Throwing more light, he explained that the programme which started last year was being piloted in 16 communities in the district ad it would be extended to other communities.

He said World Vision had designed special packages for communities which would achieve the objectives of the programme, and appealed to Assembly members and traditional rulers to support the programme for its success.

Mr Gyaataah Soragious Tang, the Assemblyman for Agyina, commended the World Vision and the district Assembly for selecting the community to benefit from the programme, and assured that the community would also provide the required support.

 

Source: modernghana.com

Ghana has no reliable data on occupational health – Lecturer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr Francis Nsiah, a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Chemistry, University of Cape Coast (UCC) has stressed the need for the country to develop effective mechanisms for the collection of reliable occupational health and safety data.

He said Ghana, though a member of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) did not have any reliable data on occupational health and safety for the purposes of policy formulation and research. 

Dr Nsiah, an expert in Workplace Safety and Health was speaking at a Stakeholders’ Seminar in Cape Coast to mark this year’s World Day for Safety and Health at Work.

He spoke on the topic “Optimize the collection and use of occupational safety and health data, a contribution to the implementation of sustainable development Goal 8”.

The seminar, organised by Health and Safety Ghana (HESAG), Ghana’s premiere health and safety policy institute brought together representatives of the various trade unions, employers, health and safety practitioners, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO’s) in health and safety, academicians and government agencies in charge of workplace safety and health. 

Dr Nsiah said the collection and utilisation of reliable occupational safety and health data were indispensable for the detection of new hazards and emerging risks. 

He said it would also help in the identification of hazardous sectors, the development of preventive measures, as well as the implementation of policies, systems and programmes at international, national and enterprise levels. 

“There is the need to get accurate occupational health and safety figures to help us plan against occupational injuries, accidents and diseases” He added. 

Dr. Nsiah said there was the need to educate workers and employers on occupational health and safety issues and to make occupational health and safety information available to all adding that “awareness is good but knowledge is very important”.

He maintained that workers need to be protected against workplace hazards at all times and that the Ministry of Employment and Labour must lead the way in these matters. 

He said workers must be aware of their working environment and take personal responsibilities for their health and safety at all times as workplace safety remained a shared responsibility between the employer and the employee.  

The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 8, Target 8.8, focuses on the “protection of labour rights and promotion of safe and secure working environments for all workers, including migrant workers, in particular women migrants, and those in precarious employment.”

 

Source: Ghana Business News

Chief suspends mining activities in Talensi traditional area

By: Frederick Awuni, citifmonline.com

 

The Paramount Chief of the Talensi Traditional Area, Tongoraan Kugbilsong Nanlebegtang, has suspended all forms of mining both licensed and unlicensed from operating in the Talensi traditional area with immediate effect until further notice.

He has also cautioned all chiefs and landowners(Tindaanas) within the traditional area, not to lease out lands for any mining activity without the approval of the Talensi traditional council.

This decision according to Tongoraa, is to allow for comprehensive investigations into all mining activities in Gbane in order to curb the precarious mining practices that have led to the loss of lives and environmental degradation.

“We the Talensi traditional council have extended the temporary ban beyond the Shaanxi Ghana Mining company limited to cover all licensed and illegal miners in Gbane. We are doing it through the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources John Peter Amemu, the Minerals Commission and the Upper East Regional Police command…”

Addressing a press conference at his palace in Tongo, Tongoraan Kulgbilsong Nanlebegtang said the perilous nature of mining in the area has not only polluted water bodies and destroyed farm lands, but the use of mercury and cyanide by the miners also has a serious effect on humans and the soil water.

“The top soil of farms in the area have been destroyed by graders and bulldozers. There is so much degradation of the land and water such that if it is not stopped now, future generations will curse us for not catering for them.”

The Tongraan blamed the Minerals Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency for failing the fight against Galamsey in the area.

“The Minerals Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency have not been able to effectively play their roles as regulators and policing agencies collectively to curb Galamsey destruction of farm lands and water bodies within the mining areas,” he said.

The Minerals Commission has approved over 30 small scale miners in the Talensi traditional area.

“The situation has led to an increase in land boundary disputes and the incessant deaths of over 100 young people through collapsed pits and explosive toxic chemicals since 2006,” the Tongraan stated.

Tongraan Kugbilsong Nanlebetang also disclosed that, the Minerals Commission has never involved the Talensi traditional council before issuing permits or licenses to mining companies operating in the area.

Gov’t suspends Chinese mining firm’s operations in Talensi 

This comes after the government temporarily suspended the operations of Shaanxi Ghana Mining Company Limited operating at Gbane in the Talensi District of the Upper East Region.

According to a letter signed by the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu, the suspension is to allow for thorough investigations into the company’s underground operations, and the alleged death of about seven miners in the area.

 

Source: modernghana.com

Revamp Pomadze Poultry Farm – Effutu Chief To Government

 

The Paramount Chief of the Efutu Traditional Area, Nenyi Ghartey VII, has appealed to government to revamp the defunct Pomadze Poultry Farm to provide jobs for the youth in the area.

He said the structures of the factory are going waste, and called for it to “be rehabilitated in phases”.

He added the area could be “used to establish a Micro Livestock Project and a Residential Youth in Agriculture Entrepreneurship Programme to train the youths in the production of small ruminants, mushroom and others”.

The Omanhene made the proposal at a durbar in Winneba to mark the 2017 celebration of the annual Aboakyer Festival by the people of Winneba.

The festival was generally peaceful this year as the Winneba town was under heavy security presence from both the police and the military.

Despite its peaceful celebration, the 2017 Aboakyer Festival lost a part of its shine as the Dentsirfo Asafo Company boycotted the event.

The hunt for a deer, the climax of the festival, was thus done by only the Twafo Asafo Company.

The animal was presented to Omanhene Nenyi Ghartey, and later to the Central Regional Minister, Kwamena Duncan and the Chieftaincy, Religion and Culture Minister, Kofi Dzamesi who were present at the durbar.

Nenyi Ghartey VII also hinted on the threat posed to the hunting ground for the sacred deers. He solicited support from the President for the place to be preserved and properly managed for tourist purposes.

“We have petitioned the management of the Ghana Tourism Authority to initiate action on this request. If properly managed, we are only optimistic that this festival will become a major income earning cultural event for our people and beyond”, Nenyi Ghartey VII stated.

On the perennial controversies that surround the festival, the Omanhene advised politicians “to allow for its observation without interference to preserve it for its economic benefits to the Efutu community and those around us”.

On his part, Hon Kofi Dzamesi promised the people of Efutu who are mostly employed in the fishing industry: “very soon, the Ministry of Fisheries will be coming to visit your community to address all the problems associated with fishing, especially having to do with premix fuel distribution in this area”.

The Aboakyer Festival is celebrated yearly on the first Saturday in May. It attracts diverse tourists from the world over.

 

Source : Peace Fm

Video: 137 Fishermen Arrested In Accra

A total of 137 fishermen have been arrested at Prampram in the Ningo-Prampram District in the Greater Accra Region for engaging in illegal fishing activities.

The suspects, including women and children were arrested by a local watchdog committee set up by the Prampram fisherfolks to prevent illegal fishing activities in the area.

However, some of the suspects were subjected to severe beatings by the Prampram fisherfolks for invading their area with their illegal fishing methods.

Explanation

Confirming the incident to Graphic Online, the Prampram District Police Commander, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Issah Mohammed Cantonam, said the suspects were arrested between May 1 and May 7, this year.

He said the first batch of the illegal fishermen, involving 97 people, including women and children were arrested on Monday, May 1, 2017 while the second batch, comprising 40 people were arrested on Saturday, May 7, this year.

He said items retrieved from the suspects included 17 canoes, power generators, electrical cables and lights, and other illegal fishing tools.

He told Graphic Online that most of the fishermen come from Ada and Tema Newtown in the Greater Accra Region.

Arrest

Explaining why some of the suspected illegal fishermen were manhandled, DSP Cantonam said when the members of the local “sea watchdog committee” confronted them, the illegal fishermen attempted to pour petrol on them thus leading to a scuffle between the locals and the illegal fishermen.

He said due to the activities of illegal fishermen, most coastal areas have set up “sea watchdog committees” as part of measures to halt the illegal activities.

He said the police have seized all the illegal fishing tools from the suspects, including their canoes.

DSP Cantonam, however, said the suspects have been granted bail but would be processed for court soon, adding that the police would also investigate the matter to deal with those who vented their anger on the suspects.


 Source: Peace Fm

War Against ‘Galamsey’ Topmost Priority Of Government – Amewu

 

Mr John Peter Amewu, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, says war against illegal mining remains the topmost priority of the Government and that it would ensure that the practice becomes unattractive.

“Not only will we end this trade but to make sure that it becomes unattractive for someone to venture in,” he told the Energy Media Group who called on him to present copies of their quarterly magazine to the Ministry.

Activities of the unlawful mineral extraction has led to wanton destruction of farmlands and water bodies, sparking ongoing media campaign in Ghana to pressure government to end the canker.

Some chiefs and influential political figures were cited last week in a Bureau of National Investigations report for perpetuating the illegal trade which experts say involves over five million people.

“The galamsey thing we are talking about is here, it’s not a joke at all, and must be tackled with all seriousness,” Mr Amewu said.

“Must we sit here and fold our arms and watch these few people to destroy our water bodies for us?
“No way, and we are committed to ending this menace within the shortest possible time and it is the topmost priority for this government,” he said.

He expressed happiness that the magazine had dedicated a column for mining related issues to champion the happenings within the sector.

Mr Henry Teinor, the Chief Executive Officer of Energy Media Group, told the Minister about activities of the upcoming Ghana Energy Awards which is planned for December.

“We are also, by this visit, pledging our support to help you succeed,” he said.

The Minister subscribed to the 60-page magazine that features a wide range of topics on energy matters in Ghana’s oil sector and around the world.

 

Source: Peace Fm

 

Chinese Galamsey Kingpin Busted

By: Ernest Kofi Adu, Kumasi

Aisha Huang 

 

AISHA  HUANG, the 31-year-old Chinese woman suspected to be one of Ghana’s most notorious illegal miners, is again in the grips of the security service for allegedly flouting mining laws with impunity when she was left off the hook in August last year after a similar arrest.

Aisha Huang, who has acquired local names – Aisha and Yaa Asantewaa – was freed and her excavators that were seized by operatives of the National Security released following an order by the Ashanti Regional Security Council (REGSEC) after a reported inconclusive investigation into her alleged illegal activities.

The re-arrest of the woman last Saturday came shortly after the arrest of four other Chinese nationals who confessed working as illegal miners at Bepotenten in the Amansie West District of the Ashanti Region for Aisha Huang.

The Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) said Aisha was the kingpin of a Chinese galamsey gang, with other members being Gao Jin Cheng 45, Lu Qi Jun 39, Haibin Gao 26 and Zhang Zhi Peng 23.

Ashanti Regional Deputy Commander of GIS, Chief Superitendent Peter Adu-Appiah, disclosed that the Chinese immigrant and her cohorts had since been sent to the national headquarters in Accra for further investigation.

According to him, it took officers of the Service more than four hours to get the lady arrested as she let loose her wild dogs on them, in an effort   to resist arrest.

Aisha Huang was finally nabbed when she went to the GIS regional office to plead for the release of the four Chinese illegal miners, even though she was being sought after without her knowledge.

Even after the deadline for galamsey operators to fold up had expired, Aisha and her gang were not ready to abandon the lucrative gold business before her arrest on Saturday.

It has emerged that Aisha is perceived as untouchable because she is holding secrete sexual video tapes of some power brokers in the security services and some politicians which she is using for blackmailing. Veteran journalist, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako of the New Crusading Guide newspaper, who made the revelation on Joy FM’s ‘News File’ programme last Saturday, claimed three women were involved in the supposed sex tape.

According to him, the Chinese women had built a network of influence in high places in the country which they rely on for protection whilst engaging in galamsey activities.

The Comptroller General of the Ghana Immigration Service, Kwame Takyi, explained yesterday that following the revelations made by Kweku Baako, his men moved in to effect Aisha’s arrest after receiving authorisation from the Interior Minister.

He said the galamsey suspects had been brought to Accra and assisting in investigations.

Previous Arrest
Some national security operatives, on July 30, 2016, raided various gold mining sites to impound excavators and a pickup vehicle belonging to the Chinese woman that were being used for the illegal mining operation.

She and her assigns had degraded lands, destroyed cocoa farms and polluted water bodies in several communities in the Amansie area, and the national security, in an attempt to clamp down on her activities, raided the sites.

At Gyaaman village, the activities of the Chinese galamsey operator allegedly left six children dead after the victims drowned in open pits.

However, the Ashanti Regional Security Council, then headed by John Alexander Ackon found it expedient to release the four excavators and the Toyota pickup to the galamsey miner to the chagrin of the local residents and owners of the mining concessions, Volta Resources Limited.

Minister’s Explanation
The action followed a decision arrived at by members of the Security Council “to correct and streamline” what they considered to be a breach of “orthodox way and acceptably recognized rules of the REGSEC in relation to anti-galamsey operations.”

Even though the region’s former security liaison officer in the person of Enoch Amoako Nsiah authorised the seizure of the excavators, the minister returned them to Aisha.

The former minister explained that the Security Council in an attempt to establish leads, found it necessary to release the excavators to the owners in order to conduct proper investigation towards the clamp-down of the illegal mining activities in the region.

On July 30, 2016, some operatives of the National Security – with assistance from officers at the Asokwa Divisional Police Command in Kumasi– raided the Manso Tontokrom gold field to clamp down on activities of galamseyers.

The illegal miners, including members of Aisha’s group, reportedly fled from the scene upon seeing the police, leaving behind mining equipment and tools.

Two Chinese galamseyers, Chen Bingin 30, and Wu Xing Qiang 36, who were said to be working for the ‘untouchable’ woman, were also arrested after a chase, while ten excavators which they were using for the mining operation were seized by the combined team of security personnel.

Four of her assigns

Aisha Huang’s passport  

 

Source: moderghana.com

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