The Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Benito Owusu-Bio, has tasked district and regional forest managers in the mining areas to be at the forefront of the fight against illegal mining in Ghana’s forest reserves.
“You can not tell me that you are in charge of your various districts, and not aware of happenings in your own jurisdictions,” he bemoaned.
According to the Deputy Minister, any officer of the state who sat aloof for illegal mining activities to take place was not fit for purpose and will be sanctioned accordingly.
Mr Owusu-Bio, was addressing some Regional and District forest managers at the Forestry Commission Training School at Akyawkrom near Ejisu in the Ashanti Region on Friday, October 14, 2022.
The officers were drawn from illegal mining-prone communities across the country.
Also present were Francis Manu-Adabor, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Lands and Forestry, John Allotey, the Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission, and Iddrisu Musah, the Deputy CEO of the Commission.
Mr Owusu-Bio, who doubles as the Member of Parliament for Atwima Nwabiagya North, said the fight against the menace was also a collective one and called on the citizenry to own the campaign by blowing the whistle anytime they suspected any attempt to destroy a forest reserve in the country.
On his part, Mr John Allotey said the authority, per its mandate, was to protect these natural resources, and that no interferences should be tolerated by the forest managers.
He said since he took over the office in 2020, he had not given any permit to any individual or bodies to prospect in forest reserves and wondered why some of his officers were being influenced to disregard his directives.
He reiterated the Commission’s mandate to be responsible for the regulation of the utilization of forest and wildlife resources, the conservation and management of these resources and the coordination of policies related to them.