The media has generously reported that some 200 police officers have been deployed to illegal mining sites across the country to support the fight against galamsey in mining communities.
The deployment comes on the back of a similar deployment of officers from the Ghana Armed Forces.
Deputy Minister-designate for Mines and Natural Resources, George Mireku Duker, explaining the rational behind the deployment, urged them to sustain the gains and not to allow themselves to be compromised with financial inducements as this will ruin the good intentions of government.
Apparently admitting the fact that we have had challenges with the Task Force thing since the last official fight, we are not surprised that the Deputy Minister was pot on, when he urged them not to allow themselves to be tempted by offers of bribes or greed.
He also cautioned them against greed, encouraging them “to put on the armour of patriotism, selflessness and integrity in the discharge of your duties.”
Explaining the deployment of the police on Wednesday, Mr Mireku Duker emphasised they used to have the military manning the large-scale concessions but had few challenges coupled with inadequate men on the ground so they (the military) retreated and there was still the demand for them to also equip the large-scale concessions.
“So, the sector ministry, the IGP and the Ghana Chamber of Mines decided, collectively, that we would replace the military with the police. The military also has certain coordinated assignments to do and that’s why we have assigned this to the police. So, the military are also doing something different or something similar to support the same effort,” he explained.
The deployed police personnel have undergone a two-week pre-deployment training to shore up their expertise in dealing with mining related issues.
But we also wish to reiterate the call by the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, Sulemana Korney, who advised that we put in place permanent systems, including a permanent police unit for the mining sector as the mining companies and communities continue to struggle with robberies and life-threatening crimes.
This is imperative, in our opinion, in the light of recurring acts of encroachments that husband weapons and ammunitions that they use to attack police or other security agencies.
But the more overriding concern is the degradation, pillage of our national and collective heritage and the impunity with which the health, lives and the future of whole communities are sacrificed on the altars of greed and selfishness.
As we have been told, unless we fought the scourge ruthlessly, our cocoa fortunes from which we sustain our national development agendas and, probably, the timber and gold itself, might face sanctions by our trading partners.
That is why we must no longer delude ourselves into thinking that what we have on our hands is an NPP or Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo responsibility. If the President has put his life on the line, it means that he would use all powers within his mandate to ensure that the fight is sustained.
As citizens, all we need therefore to do is comply and, for those in mining communities, take advantage of alternative livelihood programmes that are available to youth and unemployed persons in such communities to enable them modestly improve lives and livelihoods.
As the President has always reminded us, we need to put Ghana first.