Godwill Arthur-Mensah, GNA
Accra, July 31, GNA - Lieutenant General Obed Akwa, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), on Monday, urged the joint Military/Police Anti-galamsey Taskforce to perform their duties with courage and fortitude.
“Go forth with a clear conscience because the cause for this operation is the right course and so work as a team with the nationalist spirit,” he said, adding, “Failure is not an option”.
He said the taskforce was constituted to halt the operations of illegal mining otherwise known as “galamsey” in order to preserve the environment and prevent further destruction of farmlands and pollution of water bodies.
Lieutenant Obed Akwa said this at the launch of the operation code named, “Operation Vanguard” at Burma Camp in Accra.
He said the Military and the Police had undertaken similar joint operations in the past such as “Operation Gongo” in the Northern Region and ”Operation Calm Life” throughout the country as well as “Operation Halt One and Two”, which aimed at preventing illegal timber lumbering.
The Chief of Defence Staff noted that government had procured additional logistical resources in terms of vehicles clothing and medicals to enhance operational efficiency and effectiveness.
He said the taskforce had undergone a two-week robust training at the Bundase Training Camp, which equipped them with the necessary orientation, guidelines, and essential skills needed for the operation, adding that, team work and effective leadership would ensure the success of the operation.
He said the troops had been divided into three detachments bases and assigned experienced commanders, which would be deployed to Eastern, Western and Ashanti regions.
“One guiding principle will be the Man-on-the Spot doctrine and, therefore, you are expected to use your initiatives and professional judgement correctly,” he advised.
The operation falls under Presidential Initiative, which started with an issuance of ultimatum by the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources for all illegal miners to evacuate their mining equipment such as excavators from illegal mining sites.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has also pledged his unflinching support to end the menace of illegal mining by putting his job on the line.
It is estimated that one million people are involved in the chain of mining activities in the country, including foreigners who have destroyed the environment.
The Minerals and Mining Act, 2006, Act 703 and amended Act 2015; Act 900 reserved small-scale mining to only Ghanaians.