Accra, Dec. 7, GNA - The Government has settled the 30 million dollars arrears owed Ghanaian peacekeepers since 2016, Mr Dominic Nitiwul, the Minister of Defence, has said.
He said the Government paid 13 million dollars initially and later added 17 million dollars, thereby, completing the payment this year.
‘‘Now soldiers are not supposed to come to Ghana before being paid,’’ he said.
The Defence Minister said there was high morale among the soldiers and gave the assurance that the Military would ensure the safety and candor of every Ghanaian.
‘‘I am proud of our Armed Forces and I have every reason to be proud of them and I know at the bottom of my heart that you are also proud of our troops,’’ he said.
Mr Nitiwul, who is the Member of Parliament for Bimbilla, said this at the Meet-the-Press Series in Accra on Thursday to update the public about the happenings in the military and measures put in place by the Government to address them.
He said the Military, over the period, engaged in internal and external operations such as Operation Vanguard to enforce the ban on illegal small-scale mining, popularly called ‘galamsey’ and ensure the restoration of the water bodies and forests that had been polluted.
He said the operation was not meant to fight anybody but rather to save all Ghanaians.
The Minister said the operation resulted in the arrest of recalcitrant illegal miners who were still operating and seizure of mining equipment including excavators and chanfans.
A total of 673 arrests were made, 143 excavators and 1,719 chanfans were seized, while 28 varieties of arms, 301 ammunitions and 143 explosives were confiscated, he said.
Mr Nitiwul said from the 400 joint military and police force who were deployed to the Western, Ashanti and Eastern regions, more security personnel from the Ghana Navy, Armed Forces Engineering Regiment and Marine Police had been deployed on some mining sites and water bodies to ensure the enforcement of the ban.
The Minister said the greatest challenge now was the restoration of the degraded environment and its maintenance to forestall a relapse.
‘‘I wish to reiterate my Ministry’s commitment to assist by getting troops to help in tree planting to reclaim degraded lands,’’ he said.
Mr Nitiwul acknowledged the force behind Operation Vanguard derived from the President’s avowed commitment to end the canker of galamsey and urged all those engaging in it to stop.