Source: Today Newspaper

Scores of environmental experts have exposed the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) government over its highly-matured scheme to throw out comprehensive work done on the sustainable lands and natural resources management by the Commissioners of the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) headed by Emeritus Professor Albert K. Fiadjoe.

The CRC which was constituted by the late President John Evans Fiifi Atta Mills in 2008 reviewed the minerals and mining development policy in Ghana and came out to declare: “Forest Reserves as no go zones for mining and Ghana must not allow underground mining in the forest reserves.”

According to the environmentalists, though the officials of the current national administration were aware that the CRC had taken pains to do a thorough job, they [NDC] are bent to throw spokes into the wheel of a highly intellectual exercise.

The officials of the NDC, according to the Ghanaian environmentalists who were acting as agents for foreign investors are currently mounting intense pressure on President John Dramani Mahama through the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources to allow multinational mining companies to mine in forest reserves located in various mining communities in the country.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Today, the environmental experts alleged that the government through Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources was planning to sign mining contracts with some multinational mining companies to mine in some ‘protected’ forest reserves.

Meanwhile the Associate Executive Director of Wacam, Mrs. Hannah Owusu Koranteng together with the Executive Director of Centre for Environmental Impact Analysis (CEIA,) Mr. Samuel K. Obiri had asserted that, the NDC allies were no other than neo-colonialist agents that masqueraded as the “Mining Lobbists” in the early days of Fourth Republic.

For his part, the Director of Communications and Advocacy of Wacam ,Boakye Dankwah Boadi recounted that these neo-colonialist agents with support from some top officials of the NDC in 2009, during the late President Mills’ administration came in with the same bombshell-“Ghana must allow underground mining in forest reserves”, but their grand agenda was thrown away.

But Mr. Dankwah Boadi who was the former Supervisory Chief Editor of the Ghana News Agency (GNA) said these “smart alecks” when realising President Mahama would never sanction the destruction of the nation’s forest reserves through surface mining, they quickly put in their “Plan B” to lobby the President to allow them to do underground mining in the country’s forest reserves.

“It is therefore a surprise that some Ghanaians, particularly officials of the NDC can allow themselves to be used by foreign investors against generations yet unborn in this criminal act” he pointed out.

According to the ace journalist [Dankwah Boadi], “the forest reserves in Ghana have been demarcated because they are important watersheds for rivers in this country and for any person to suggest that these reserves, which even the colonialists with all their greed spared, should be destroyed by 56-year-old independent Ghana; is baffling”.

He said: “those who made the proposal, one dares say, lacked sufficient knowledge, adding that their contribution is blight on an otherwise highly intellectual output from the contributors to the CRC.

The “Ghana’s Agenda for Shared Growth and Development (GASGAD) states: under “Sustainable Natural Resources Management”: “The main goal is the integration of the principle of sustainable development into national development policies and programmes.

The policy objectives are: “maintain and enhance protected area systems-provide alternative livelihoods for local people to reduce pressure on lands adjacent to protected areas and water bodies. Strengthen the legal framework on protected areas-empower district Assemblies to enforce laws on bushfires and strengthen the law enforcement unit of the Wildlife Division.

The others are: Curb the loss of biodiversity by the intensification of safe and sound environmental practices and facilitate the development of relevant sector biodiversity policies.”

In pursuance of this policy and its logical concomitance; the government has gone ahead to sign and has gazetted the “Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Directive On the Harmonization Of Guiding Principles In The Mining Sector” to serve as a notice to Ghanaians of its existence and to inform them that steps were being taken towards making it a law in the country.

In the light of this, Mr. Boadi in an angry tone observed however, that it was strange that the neo-colonialists agents with the support from officials of the NDC would still want to test the long-suffering of President Mahama’s government which is so much committed to building a Better Ghana?

It would be recalled that the Members of Parliamentary Committee on Lands and Forestry in their efforts to fight for the destruction of Achimota forest reserve were on Tuesday, November 25, 2014 prevented by officers of the Special Weapon and Tactical Unit of Ghana Police Service from entering the disputed area of the Achimota forest in Accra.

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