Bantamahene Baffour Owusu Amankwatia VI has appealed to the government to empower chiefs to deal with the issue of Galamsey in the country.
He said the powers of chiefs to arrest recalcitrant citizens had diminished and there was very little they could do to salvage the vile environmental degradation perpetrated through wanton exploitation of gold.
Speaking in an interview with the media in Kumasi, the Bantamahene suggested to the government to fully involve traditional rulers in mining communities or areas in the fight against illegal mining.
He indicated that any other measures without chiefs would be a total failure.
He said although the government had taken various policies and measures such as the involvement of the security agencies to fight galamsey, that could not hold water because traditional rulers, the custodians of the land, had not been actively involved.
He pointed out that it was the chiefs in the mining areas who knew the galamsey operators staying among other people in the mining communities, villages and even hamlets deep in the forest reserves.
Such chiefs, Baffour Owusu Amankwatia VI stated, could point out the galamsey operators without fear for them to be arrested to face full rigours of the law.
He expressed serious concern at the rate forest reserves and water bodies were being destroyed with impunity by illegal miners and their related activities due to decline in the country’s moral and cultural values.
“Chiefs, hitherto, had the power to summon these irresponsible people to the palace but that power to summon has been taken away. As a human institution, there might have been some instances of abuse of power to summon but that could have been rectified.
“Parliament should look at this again to empower chiefs to deal with the galamsey menace,” he stated.