I Won’t Condone Lawlessness --- Minister Tells Saamang Community
5/17/2012 3:58:02 PM -
The Eastern Regional Minister, Ambassador Victor Smith, has issued a stern warning to the people of Saamang, a farming community within the Fanteakwa District not to adopt illegal means in their quest to address their grievances, adding that the Regional Security Council under his watch will not countenance any form of lawlessness in the region.
The Minister issued the warning when, accompanied by members of the Regional Security Council, went to the farming community to ascertain the cause of misunderstanding between the irate community on one hand and management of Solar Mining Company and Kibi Goldfields Limited on the other which has been disrupting peace in the area recently.
Mr Smith told them to use the appropriate and lawful means in seeking redress as the Mining Companies in contention are registered entities who have been permitted by the Environmental protection Agency and the Minerals Commission to operate in the area.
'We have laws in this country. We also have rules governing our activities such as mining so I don't see why anybody will like to disturb the peace of this country by inciting the public against the system.' Mr Smith noted.
He further urged the Assemblyman for the Saamang Electoral Area, Mr Gyeatuo Kyenkyenku who is believed to be the mastermind behind the misunderstandings to be wary of his actions and use proper channels in addressing the issue because the Regional Security Council will not sit aloof and watch the community take the law into their own hands, especially as the December election draws nigh.
An Official from the Environmental Protection Agency who was at the meeting explained to the people that Kibi Goldfields/Solar Mining Company have met all requirements of the Agency and the Water Resources Commission to do alluvial mining in the area since 2008.
He expressed shock at the recent agitations by the Saamang community, saying that Kibi Goldfields for instance have been operating in the area since the mid-nineties until it handed over its concession to Solar Mining Company due to financial difficulties.
He recalled meetings between Management of the mining companies and opinion leaders from Saamang and surrounding villages in Kyebi and Osino during which there was an agreement among parties that mining activities will not affect water bodies, lives and properties negatively adding, 'Since then, our inspectors have constantly been ensuring that the agreement is not flouted'.
Gyeatuo Kyenkyenku, the Assemblyman for the area who led his people to sing the patriotic song 'yen ara ya asasi ni' before reading his statement grumbled about paltry sums of money paid to farmers whose farms were destroyed by the company and added that they are disappointed at regulatory agencies for issuing permit to the companies to mine in the area.
He further accused the companies of diverting River Akusu and Anoma by constructing bridges to change its paths to the detriment of the community and further urged his people to be alert and resist and attempt by state institutions to intimidate them.
Further information gathered revealed some irate youth from Saamang have constantly been going to premises of the Solar Mining Company to vandalize properties and molest workers of the company, a situation which prompted the detailing of a Police/Military team to the area.
By Mckyntosh Essuman Aidoo