Tackle galamsey within the framework of the law – Chief Justice
The Chief Justice Anin-Yeboah has raised concerns about the impact of illegal small scale mining (Galamsey) on the environment.
He said members of the judiciary share the concerns the entire nation has about the menace.
“As members of the judiciary, we share very acutely, the concerns the entire nation has about the menace of illegal mining.
“Not only is it depriving the nation of the exploitation of its natural resources but it is exacting an incalculable toll on our environment.
“The pictures and videos we see of polluted water bodies are not mere disembodied images describing an abstract disaster, they have a very real impact on our lives today and years to come,” he during a training programme for 32 judges and magistrates drawn from Central, Ashanti, Western, Bono and other regions affected by illegal mining operations.
He further said the fight against the illictv trade must be situated within the laws of the land.
“We are a nation of laws. That is something that I believe that we are all proud of, which means that when such abhorrent conduct as this is, happens, it is the law that we must turn to,” he said.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has minced no words in urging persons disgruntled by the renewed fight against illegal mining to go to court if they disagree.
“I know there are some who believe that the ongoing exercise of ridding our water bodies and forest zones of harmful equipment and machinery is unlawful and, in some cases, harsh,” he said.
“I strongly disagree, and I would advise those who take a contrary view to go to court to vindicate their position, if they so wish.”
Meanwhile, President Akufo-Addo stated these on Wednesday, May 26 when he cut sod for Phase One of the Law School Village for the Ghana School of Law.
He said the project is long overdue and happy it is under his government “that this project is finally seeing the light of the day”.
“The entire Law Village Project will cost some $55 million with Phase One complementing the facilities of the Accra Main Campus located at Makola, at a cost of some $4 million.
“Once completed, the Law Village will boast of an additional seating capacity of 1,500 seats, a number of lecture halls, a well-resourced library, residential facilities, offices, amongst others.”
President Akufo-Addo expects the project to expand access to legal education without compromising on quality.
“As many more lawyers are trained, it is my hope that, indeed, many more of them will join the public sector to enhance the quality of legal service delivery in the country.”
On the galamsey fight, the president insisted that those without licenses but convey equipment to sites to search, prospect, explore and mine for a mineral commit grievous crimes against the law.
“Indeed, a person in possession of a valid license but undertakes mining in water bodies or mines unlawfully in protected forest zones also commits an illegality.”
He bemoaned the devastation caused by illegal miners, calling it “evil” and “we should not compromise in our efforts to protect our environment, forest reserves and water bodies”.