The Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, has noted with deep concern the complicity of some of the chiefs in the region in illegal mining (galamsey) and resolved to support the government in dealing with the problem.
He said some of the chiefs colluded with illegal miners to inflict damage on the environment and fleece the nation of needed revenue.
Speaking at the general meeting of the Ashanti Region House of Chiefs in Kumasi, the Asantehene said every move that would help uproot the canker must be supported to the letter. In attendance was Mr Mike Hammah, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu, who is also the Life President of the Ashanti Regional House of Chiefs, said the environment needed to be protected at all cost for the benefit of generations yet unborn. He said the new office complex for the house currently under construction would be completed by the end of March, 2013. He commended the minister for honoring the invitation of Nananom to attend the meeting.
For his part, Mr Hammah assured Nananom of the ministry’s commitment to the proper management of the land they had given to the ministry to manage. He said the Forestry Commission would not condone the situation where contractors refused to pay royalties which deprived land owners and local authorities of their legitimate revenues.
Mr Hammah also said the disbursement and payment of royalties to the Office of the Administration of Stool Lands (OASL) had improved significantly over the years. The minister added that henceforth official copies of all timber rights allocation would be sent to the respective paramount chiefs to ensure greater transparency and accountability.
Touching on the mining sector, Mr Hammah said that the spate of illegal mining activities countrywide was of much concern to the government. He said that situation had been worsened by some land owners conniving with illegal miners, by offering parcels of land to them for money. Mr Hammah indicated that the government was providing equipment and financial support to legalise small mining cooperatives and groups to assist them improve their operations.
He said the assistance tends to serve as a form of enticement for illegal miners to regularize their activities.