President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has called the bluff of people engaged in illegal mining who have threatened that should he stop them, the fortunes of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) would be affected in the next general election.
“What I will do is what God has told me to do, and that is what matters to me. What I have come to do is to take steps that will further the development of the country and that is what matters to me, not the next election,” the President stated.
Reacting for the first time to a news conference held by a group of illegal miners who threatened to vote against the NPP in the next election should the President halt their mining activities, the President said he remained unfazed by the threat to vote against the NPP in the next general election if he stopped them from the illegal acts.
President Akufo-Addo explained that he was not against mining, but rather against illegal mining that brought devastation to the environment.
‘I will end illegal mining’
“I have not said I am going to put an end to mining. Mining started since time immemorial and I will not be the one to end it,” he stressed.
The President made the statement when he addressed a durbar of the chiefs and people of Akyem Wenchi as a prelude to the inauguration of an information and communications technology (ICT) centre for schools in the traditional area at Soabe yesterday.
The centre, called “Professor and Mrs S.K.B. Asante ICT Centre”, was financed by Prof. S.K.B Asante, a former President of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences, and his wife.
The President said through the activities of illegal miners, parts of Kyebi and the Birim and Densu rivers were now in a sorry state, adding that that could not be allowed to continue.
“Mining along the water bodies cannot continue if we want to preserve nature and our environment,” he said.
In response to a request by the Paramount Chief of the Osiewuo Traditional Area, Daasebre Asumadu Appiah II, for a palm nut processing factory for the area, President Akufo-Addo said the first step was to increase production to ensure that when the factory was set up, there would be readily available raw materials to feed it.
“Right now, I am not sure that we have enough production. We have to concentrate on increasing and expanding production, then we can think of processing,” he advised.
On the ICT project funded by Prof. Asante, the President said the professor was someone who had distinguished himself in the academia and had also found an avenue to give back to his community.
Prof. Asante, the President said, deserved the commendation of all because “there are many who have studied to become intellectuals but have kept their acquisitions to themselves”.
Prof. Asante, for his part, said the decision to undertake the project was to ensure that schoolchildren in the area acquired ICT skills to be able to compete globally.