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

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

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

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

Parliament expresses concern over outbreak of CSM

By: Benjamin Mensah, GNA

 

Accra, April 6, GNA – Parliament on Thursday underlined urgent and pragmatic measures for effective check on Cerebral Spinal Meningitis (CSM) that has hit parts of the country.

A number of people are reported dead from the disease, which often strikes more in the Northern Belt, usually when the weather is very warm.

Two students were reported to have died in Bawku in the Upper East Region, while 11 have been admitted to hospital.

The two deceased were second-year science students of the Bawku Senior High School, and the Bawku Senior High Technical School.

In Kumasi, the autopsy reports have shown the cause of the ‘mysterious’ deaths of four students at the Kumasi Academy Senior High School at Asokore Mampong in the Ashanti Region has been found to be Meningitis.

Students of the school demonstrated against the school authorities demanding to go home following the deaths and almost clashed with police officers maintaining law order.

It is estimated that 62 people have died in parts of northern Ghana when the disease, that rages from November to April resurfaced.

Dr Mark Kurt Naawane, Member of Parliament (MP) for Nabdam, in a statement on the floor of the House, cited fever, headache and malaria as some of the symptoms.

He said the disease was caused by viral, fungal or bacterial infections.

He cautioned the public not to gather at densely populated areas as that could generate heat, which attracted the disease.

In a contribution, Dr Bernard Okoe Boye, MP for Ledzokuku, a physician, noted that the infectious disease was found in Ghana and other parts of Africa, but early diagnosis was needed to put the illness in check.

He said CSM could be cured, but the late arrival of cases at the health institutions had been the cause death.

He said: ‘Doctors are there to cure diseases and not to raise the dead.’

Dr Boye said there was the need to make more vaccines available and make them more available to prevent the disease.

Other contributions recognised the need to enhance education on the disease in order to prevent it.

 

Source: modernghana.com

Galamsey: Fighting The Undying Witch

By: Gordon Offin-Amaniampong

Gordon Offin-Amaniampong examines
What did our governments clamp down in the past and were able to sustain it?

Is it illegal logging by loggers? Is it squatters at Sodom and Gomorrah or those around Kwame Nkrumah Circle in Accra? Is it power cheaters who indulge in illegal power connection? Is it cocoa smuggling in our country’s borders by smugglers? Is it vigilante groups who’re constantly terrorising people? Is it the activities of land guards? Or is it middle-men who swindle prospective travelers trying to obtain passports?

The irony is that all of them have bounced back—operating vigorously. Their activities seemed emboldened! Inhabitants of Ghana’s biggest slum, Sodom and Gomorrah are back: They’re back to where city authorities evicted them from, less than two years ago. The squatters and hawkers are also back in the streets.

And the key argument hasn’t changed: they must earn their daily bread. The Kwame Nkrumah Interchange Area which not too long ago had a make-over is relapsing —going back to its ugly and insane state. In fact, on Wednesday some hawkers held placards amidst inscriptions like this: “We won’t leave this area today or tomorrow.”

The stubborn amongst them all is illegal mining operators also known as ‘Galamsey ‘in Ghana. Their activities in recent times have reached an alarming proportion. No doubt about that, they’ve stepped up their game. This followed the influx of the Chinese. I recall awhile back government deported number Chinese citizens who were in the country illegally.

Today, they’re back in their numbers. And together with Ghanaians they’re degrading and destroying our ecosystem. They’re poisoning and exterminating our water bodies. Our vegetation covers have been laid bare—raped and left naked.

They’re creating man-holes, producing sinkholes and setting up deathtraps. They’re as dangerous as explosive mines. Over the last 10 years it appears the operators have sworn an oath– basically to launch a deadly onslaught to our very existence.

Is this the land of our birth? Is this the land we swore to protect? Is this the land (the greenbelt) our forebears bequeathed us? Where did our leaders go? Where are they?

And whether it’s legal or illegal Galamsey has come to stay. That sounds crude or rather rude. But it’s the hard truth. Galamsey isn’t going anywhere at least not for now. Maybe not until the lands have run out of those much-sought-after minerals. Until the gourd is down empty or tanked the drunk knows no stop.

Backed by invisible hands they have succeeded in growing not an ordinary roots but giant roots, making it hard for authorities to deal with them.

But what is Illegal mining?
Writer Phillipe Dozolme defines illegal mining as: “The absence of land rights, mining licence, exploration or mineral transportation permit or of any document that could legitimise the on-going operations.”

It can be operated on the surface (open cast) or underground. It’s illegal because in most countries underground mineral resources belong to the state. The latter applies to Ghana too, but Galamsey has trespassed that. I must note there’d been crack downs on illegal mining in the past but all to no avail.

Question is: Are we at our wit end?
The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources John Peter Amewu announced recently that he’d placed a moratorium on licences for small-scale mining. This is part of activities to halt illegal mining operation in the country. The move, the sector minister also indicated was to help ensure saneness in the environment.

”I have not signed a single small-scale-mining licence, since I assumed office. This is an attempt to sanitise the system,” Mr. Amewu said.

Indeed Ghana is fighting an undying witch. We‘ve picked up a fight which portends to be a lifetime battle. You may not like the way I’ve put it but that’s the reality on the ground. I normally don’t say things like that. I am a man full of hope, full of aspiration. I am an optimist and not pessimist.

Obviously, the conditions on the ground leaves one to wonder whether our governments had been waging these fights with kid’s gloves or they’d condoned and connived with the operators or they didn’t have long-term strategies or plans to do so. It could be that we’re at our wit end.

Remember the father who brought his demon-possessed son (Mark 9:14-29) to Jesus’ disciples to be healed? They’d no idea what to do and how to fight the demon. They lacked the firepower. Bottom-line they couldn’t do it. Jesus rebuked them after healing the boy.

I felt I had been wounded twice or three times this past few days. The images I saw—the photos and the videos on social media platforms grieved my heart. I couldn’t understand what’s going on. I struggled to make sense out of all that–the degrading state of our ecosystem is so graphic. It looks so atrocious so horrible and so terrible.

The activities of these miners are out of hand. Sad though, we have to come this far to realise that we’re losing or have lost something that is so precious. It’s so sad our leaders couldn’t stop it at its nascent stage. It seems to me it was business as usual and politics at its best. It seems to me they went to sleep whilst the busy bees got busy to degrade, to destroy tad to pillage that which our forebears fought graciously to possess and passed it on. And perhaps what‘s left now is misery and hopelessness.

World Bank report on Ghana had indicated, by the end of 1995 the total hectares of the land destroyed through the activities of Galamsey were approximately 150,000 hectares. That was then, over 20 years on the acclivities of illegal mining have picked up like never before .Thus your guess could be my best bet.

Between 1994 and 2001 a study discovered that there were five major cyanide spillages and leakages. Five rivers in the Prestea area in the western region of Ghana suffered greatly’.

Last March, Minister of Environment Science and Technology Dr. Frimpong Boateng kind of raised the threat level. Whilst meeting staff of the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) during a working a visit in Accra Dr. Boateng hinted that our water bodies were under siege. He said the country risk losing the very existence of these precious water bodies if radical steps are not taken to resuscitate their lives.

“We know that our rivers are dead, some of them …Some of the rivers are dead—Offin, Ankobra, Pra, Oda, there’s no fish in them, in most part of the rivers. And when you find animals and fish dying from our empty forests and dead rivers it is only a question of time that it will reach the human beings,” Dr. Boateng said.

According to the sector minister if we don’t change our negative practices we would literally kill these rivers prematurely. “We have to change our attitudes there must be a change like President Akufo-Addo said. We should not be spectators but be active participants.”

“If you look at what is happening to the environment, it is something like a self-inflicted injury

Certainly the danger has become imminent, so disturbing that if stringent measures are not taken we would end up as sore losers. The country that once boasted of its virgin forests, safe water bodies, rich soils, beautiful vegetation, and the picturesque landscape is gradually losing it all by the day. The ecological damage has been great.

Bittersweet
In Africa, Ghana is the second largest gold producer contributing to about 5.7 per cent of the country’s GDP. And the activities of illegal mining have tremendously contributed to the growth of the economy. The jobless youth have found jobs, crime rate has gone down. However the environmental impact of their activities is unparalleled. Galamsey depletes environmental resources such as water; soil, landscape, vegetation, the ecosystem among others.

Also lives had been lost over the period and we’re still losing lives. In November 2009 a collapsed occurred in an illegal mine in Dompoase in either Ashanti/Western region. At least 18 workers were killed including 13 women who worked as porters for the miners. A similar incident occurred at Kyekyewere near Dunkwa-on-Offin in the Central region.

Solution
Perhaps the solution to this cancerous problem rests in the bosom of the new administration’s ‘One-District-One-Factory across country mantra. It’s a long term project, but if implemented they would go a long to help bring the activities of illegal mining down. Remember, when there was Aboso Glass Factory, when there was Kumasi Jute Factory there was no Galamsey but there was gold. When there was Nsawam Cannery Factory, the Komenda Sugar Factory there was no Galamsey gold was there. When there was the Bonsa Tyre Factory, the Bolga Meat Factory and the Tomato Factory at Wenchi there was no Galamsey but there was gold.

As a people our problem has always been not providing alternative measures. And not being proactive but reactive. You don’t evict the Sodomites and the Gomorrahites if you haven’t made any provisions for them. Then when you provide the alternative, ensure the laws are implemented to the letter. That’s the way to go…Don’t blame me, if you can’t make the dogs bark and bite.

 

Source: modernghana.com

Galamsey operators support measures to address menace

By Lydia Asamoah, GNA
Accra, April 7, GNA – A group of Illegal miners (galamsey operators) from the Western Region have called on Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, to express their readiness to assist government in addressing the menace of galamsey.

The group, who were made up of members from Amanfi East, Amanfi West, Amanfi Central and Prestea Huni- Valley districts, mining operators, was led by Nana Ntori Bonkyi Akomea and Nana Asafotse Badu both from Amanfi East District.

The Group said they were also concerned about the devastation to water bodies and the forest lands as well as appreciated the public outcry over the situation and therefore supported efforts at finding solutions.

Nana Akomea on behalf of the group said they were ready to collaborate with government to regulate activities of small-scale miners and illegal operators and to ensure that they operated within the confines of the law.

He said they supported the idea of a moratorium, a period of time where everybody would be made to lay down their mining tools and to be made part of addressing the menace.

‘We are ready to halt all activities of mining in the communities, to allow all stakeholders to come together to repair the damages by covering abandoned pits left uncovered whilst reclaiming the land through afforestation and tree planting,’ he said.

Nana Akomea suggested that all those who mined in the rivers and along the river banks should be stopped but those who operated on the land within the confines of the law should be supported and their capacities be built to enable them operate in the right way.

‘We all know that gold cannot be left under the ground, it needs to be mined so we are pleading that we should be helped to do it in the right way,’ he said.

Nana Badu on his part called on government to look at the licensing regime in granting mining concession to individuals and organisations and decentralised it at the district levels to ensure that all operators were granted appropriate licenses, and were monitored to see that they operated under the rules of engagements.

He said indeed there were about some four million people in the country who benefited from galamsey operations both directly and indirectly, and that it should not be disregarded at all but that they should be assisted to do the right things in the right ways.

The group also appealed to government to assist them form taskforces to monitor their colleagues in doing the rights things in the mining sector.

Prof Frimpong-Boateng appreciated the efforts by the operators in helping find solutions to the menace, saying, that it was critical to protect and preserve the water bodies and to recover the lands.

He said he would send their concerns and appeals to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to take a decision on the way forward.

He said the government would also collaborate with the local communities to recover the lands through tree planting exercises after the land had been recovered.

 

Source: modernghana.com

Chinese Galamsey Operators Caged

The structure which housed the Chinese on the river. INSET: The suspects

The structure which housed the Chinese on the river. INSET: The suspects

A Sekondi high court has remanded the five Chinese and five Ghanaians who were arrested last Friday by the police in the Western Region for reportedly mining gold in River Ankobra, as their lawyer, Stephen Alawabah, wants them freed.

“I want them to be set free because they are human beings. They have rights and I think once they have been here (court) they need someone to defend them in order to be able to prove the case,” he stressed.

The Chinese and their Ghanaian counterparts were reportedly seen mining in the river in two communities – Bamiankor and Duwale – last week Friday.

The Chinese suspects are Dong Cheng, 30; Hung Jian, 51; Ning Guorui, 42; Yin Biquiang, 46 and Li Zilong, 44.

The Ghanaians are Eric Owusu, 28; Kwabena Adjei, 50; Nana Adu, 42; Kwasi Owusu, 28 and Kofi Darko, 21. The police were said to have seized mining equipment from the suspects and were put before court yesterday.

Speaking to journalists at the Sekondi magistrate court after brief proceedings, the lawyer for the suspects remarked that the truth of the matter would be uncovered in the course of the trial.

“The onus lies on the prosecution to prove their case better. What the prosecution is saying might not be necessarily the truth and at the end of the trial people will appreciate the fact that may be the police did not do well for bringing up the case.”

When pushed further, he added, “Not necessarily do I want the suspects to be set free. In fact, we want justice to be delivered – the type of justice that everybody will appreciate.”

Drama
Drama unfolded when the ten suspects were initially hauled before a Sekondi magistrate court yesterday.

The expectations of the audience and journalists who trooped to the court premises in their numbers were not met as the proceedings did not last long.

According to the prosecutor, Sgt Francisca Nyarko, the court did not have the jurisdiction to hear the case, considering the nature of the offence and the punishment assigned to it.

She then prayed the court to refer the case to the circuit court in Takoradi.

The magistrate, Susana Eduful, then discharged the suspects but they were rearrested and sent to the circuit court for hearing.

Immediately the judge made the pronouncement, the journalists and some of the residents who were in the court room quickly moved out and joined available vehicles straight to the Takoradi circuit court.

However, to the disappointment of the numerous journalists, they realized that the circuit court did not sit when the suspects were brought to the court premises.

The suspects then had to be taken back to Sekondi and this time, to the high court.

The suspects were put before a Sekondi high court presided over by Justice Edward Amoako Asante.

Their pleas were taken and the court remanded them into police custody to reappear before it on Monday, April 10, 2017.

That was after a state prosecutor, George Sackey, had prayed the court to give the prosecution some time to further investigate the case.

“We want to find out whether they (suspects) are conducting their mining activities with licence from the relevant authorities and so the police should be given adequate time to investigate,” he told journalists.

He continued, “If the suspects are granted bail, they are likely to interfere with witnesses desiring to testify in the case.”

Counsel for the suspects told the court that his clients were entitled to bail, looking at the offences preferred against them.

The court however, refused to grant the alleged galamsey operators the bail and remanded them.

Water Bed
The Chinese were arrested in the well-built ‘water-homes’ on River Ankobra covered with tents and mosquito nettings. They had also built a toilet on the river, surrounded by their mining equipment.

 

Source: modernghana.com

Let’s protect public lands for national use – Prof Frimpong-Boateng

By Lydia Asamoah, GNA
Accra, March 28, GNA – Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, has appealed to state authorities, chiefs and individuals to desist from encroaching on public lands to preserve them for their intended purposes.

He stated:’This is a very bad thing that I am noticing everywhere, university lands are being encroached upon, CSIR lands in Farrakhan, in the Airport Residential area, in Fomesua, Kwadaso and here at the( Regional Maritime University(RMU) in Nungua, there is so much encroachment.

‘I will beg and appeal to the authorities involved, our chiefs, the Tema Development Corporation and all the municipal authorities just to leave these lands alone because we need them to develop our nation. Our universities need land to expand.

‘Please these encroachments must stop.’
Prof. Frimpong-Boateng said these in response to an appeal by authorities of the RMU to the Government to intervene in saving their land, which had been heavily encroached upon.

The Vice Chancellor of the RMU, Prof. Elvis Nyarko, who briefed the Minister during a working tour of the University, said most of the institution’s land, had been taken over by encroachers, including a religious organisation.

He said the encroachment was impeding the expansion of the facilities of the School, which played a critical role in the maritime industry.

Commenting on the importance of the Maritime University, the Minister described the RMU ‘as a very important facility to the nation that could help the country in the promotion of the study of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), with a specialty in the area of Marine Engineering and Transportation.’

He said the Government was very much interested in the School because it was offering STEM programmes.

‘Even though RMU is under Ministry of Transport, we are here because we are promoting the study of Science, Technology and Engineering and Mathematics,’ he explained.

‘As we went around, we could see that this is a technical university that has specialised in Marine Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electronics, Refrigeration and Welding, and indeed some Junior High School students can come here and study proper welding so that they can work in merchant ships.

‘The university is also training people working in Oil and Gas, and Safety Measures. We have a lot of things in this country and so if we are able to gather ourselves and focus to put things together, the sky will be our limit.’

He explained that the Government intended to make the teaching of the STEM subjects interesting to children all the way from the primary school to the university level to whip-up and sustain their interest.

The RMU’s mandate is to train personnel for the Maritime, Oil and Gas and ancillary industries to acquire knowledge, excellence and discipline in academic, professional, vocational and research work. It also runs the International Maritime Organisation’s mandatory and other short courses and seminars.

It currently has 90 per cent of its students as Ghanaians and 10 per cent from the four other partner African countries, with 95 per cent of its staff being Ghanaians.

 

Source: modernghana.com

Gov’t to distribute 180,000 tonnes of fertilizer to farmers in 2017

Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta has said that as part of measures to modernise and transform the agricultural sector, government will continue with the fertilizer subsidy programme.

The programme, he said, will improve productivity, help achieve food security and crop profitability for farmers.

Speaking at his first budget presentation in Parliament, the Minister said “In 2017, the ministry will continue the fertilizer subsidy programme to help increase the productivity of farmers.

“To this effect, we intend to distribute nationwide, an expected 180,000 metric tonnes of subsidized fertilizer [to farmers].”

The fertilizer subsidy programme was first introduced in June 2008 by the John Kufuor government, covering three types of inorganic fertilizer, Sulphate of Ammonia, Urea and Compound fertilizer.

The programme was designed as in intervention meant to help increase food production at the peak of the global financial, food and energy crisis that was adversely affecting poor countries.

However, this programme, together with the many others introduced to boost the agric sector have not exactly achieved expected results.

FARMER NEW

The sector has witnessed a steady decline and production levels have fallen consistently over the years.

Mr Ofori-Atta said the Akufo-Addo-led administration will, in the medium term, put measures in place to ensure that the sector bounces back.

This will begin with the launch of the planting for food and jobs campaign. The campaign is designed to encourage all citizens, both urban and rural, to take up farming as a full or part-time activity.

It is intended to be structured along the lines of the erstwhile ‘Operation Feed Yourself’ programme in the 1970s.

The campaign will involve the production of maize, rice, soya beans, sorghum and vegetables, other crops will be adopted in subsequent years.

The Minister said it will be anchored on five pillars; provision of improved seeds, supply of fertilizers, provision of dedicated extension services, marketing and e-agriculture and monitoring.

He added that the initiative is “expected to increase the production of maize by 30 percent from the current production levels, rice by 49 percent, soya beans by 25 percent and sorghum  by 28 percent. This will create 750,000 both jobs direct and indirect employment.”

He indicated that the agriculture ministry will provide improved seeds to augment any shortfall for the planting for food and jobs campaign.

Fishermen

Fisheries sector

On fisheries, Mr Ofori-Atta said efforts have been made over the years to boost both marine and inland fishing and support aquaculture development and government intends to do more.

It will begin with the modernization of fishing methods to ensure sustainable fishing and also improve production levels.

“To modernise and transform the industry, the ministry will complete the first phase of the Anomabo fisheries college to enhance research and knowledge base in fisheries technology for all operators.

“It will also collaborate with relevant institutions and the private sector to develop modern landing sites and storage facilities at Cape Coast, Jamestown and Axim,” he said.

 

Source: myjoyonline.com