It is not obligatory for the government to provide sustainable livelihood for illegal miners causing destruction to water bodies and forest reserves before plans to stop them from engaging in such unscrupulous businesses, vice president of IMANI Ghana Mr. Kofi Bentil has observed.
“The state does not owe a criminal alternative livelihood and that must be noted” he said on Joy FM’s Newsfile on Saturday.
“Government cannot provide jobs for everybody. If you are getting money from gold I do not know the kind of job you will do to fetch you that money”
According to him, illegal mining popularly known as galamsey is the biggest national security threat in the country today which everyone must get involved to combat.
Mr Kofi Bentil stated that politicians in the past failed to deal with the situation inviting all hands on deck to support government in the fight.
Former National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for North Dayi, George Loh who disagreed with the stance of the IMANI chief, called on government to provide sustainable employment to thousands engaging in the business for their livelihood.
He suggested government should give them permanent jobs to prevent them from engaging in another illegal business which could constitute another security threat to the country.
Government through the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources John Peter Amewu issued a three-week ultimatum which has since expired to illegal miners to quit or face the wrath of security agencies as part of the measures to curb the increasing spate of water pollution and environmental destruction.
Many miners have started complying with the directive as most of them have begun turning in their excavators as the campaign against illegal mining (galamsey) intensifies.
The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr John Peter Amewu said that the government had so far received more than 500 excavators.
He said that the move “is a good sign that the campaign against illegal mining across the country is yielding results.”
“It is not right for any person to engage in activities that will destroy the environment”.
“The government will not allow any person or group to continue with galamsey, knowing the full implications or consequences. We are ready to end galamsey in Ghana,” he said.
But questions have been raised on what the miners will be doing once they are thrown out of business.