Minister regrets the involvement of Kyebi Chiefs in illegal miningBy GNA
9/30/2010 9:44:29 AM -
Koforidua, Sept. 29, GNA-The Eastern Regional Minister, Mr. Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, is sad at the involvement of traditional authorities in illegal mining at Kyebi which has considerably destroyed the town's lush vegetation.
He described the situation as "betrayal of the trust of the people" and urged those involved to stop and rather co-operate with the Regional Security Committee (RESEC) to help protect the health and future of their people.
Mr. Ofosu-Ampofo was speaking when the headmaster, staff of Abuakwa State College (ABUSCO) and the East Akim Municipal Director of Education, Mrs. Kate Agyeman-Badu, paid a courtesy call on him in Koforidua to thank him for the donation of items to the school after fire gutted the boys dormitories complex of the school.
The items donated included 50 trucks, 50 wooden boxes, 50 mattresses, roofing sheets and second hand clothing.
He recalled that it was at the time of the donation that he saw excavators and trenches on the school compound and learnt that some illegal miners were mining on the school compound.
Mr. Ofosu-Ampofo said he felt disappointed at the destruction of ABUSCO, "a school with such a rich history for the people of Akyem Abuakwa and Ghana" and met with the RESEC to address the situation.
He said so far the police and the military had managed to seize 11 excavators and 90 pumps and the 14 suspects who were arrested had been put before court.
The Regional Minister advised the school authorities to educate the school children to avoid the mined sites because the water filled pits were deep and too dangerous explore.
Mr. Ofosu-Ampofo said he had initiated moves to have the burnt dormitory completed for the students to occupy to avoid crisis when school re-opens.
Mrs. Agyemang-Badu said efforts by her office to stop the invasion of the compound of the Kibi School for the Deaf by illegal miners were often thwarted.
She said reports reaching the directorate indicated that some traditional authorities were behind the illegal mining.
Mrs. Agyemang-Badu said since the educational authorities were not the landlords, there was little they could do and "by the time we became aware, almost the whole of the school compound had been taken by the illegal miners"
She said as a result of the galamsey operations in the district, most children in the area had quit school.
Mrs. Agyeman-Badu thanked the RESEC for giving a helping hand to save the situation at the school for the Deaf and said her office and the staff of ABUSCO had turned some classrooms into dormitories to accommodate some of the student.
The District Education Director said some laboratories and verandas of the school had been converted into classrooms.