Quit or face prosecution – Defence Minister tells illegal miners


The Minister for Defence, Dominic Nitiwul, has sent a very strong signal to illegal miners known in the local parlance as galamsayers, who are polluting the country’s various water bodies, to put an end to their dastardly act or face the full rigours of the law when caught.

According to him, the activities of galamsayers or illegal miners have virtually destroyed all the water bodies in the country and it was about time the government takes a stance on the matter once and for all.

He said the government is currently faced with either to shut down most of the water treatment plants and let the people go thirsty for years or clamp down on the illegal miners and save the water treatment plants for all to enjoy potable drinking water.

“The water treatments plants are in danger and the quality of water we have today – they are using six times the amount of alum they used to treat the water – that is what they are using to treat the water today. People have deliberately decided that, the best thing they want is money in their pockets and so will damage the water sources”, he noted.

Mr. Nitiwul made this observation, on Tuesday, when addressing Parliament on the extent of damage done to the various water bodies as a result of the activities of illegal mining and the stance the government has taken to restore the polluted water bodies and put an end to illegal mining.

His comments were in response to a statement made by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for Kumbungu, Ras Mubarak on the floor of the House.

Mubarak had accused the military (Operations Vanguard) of unlawful acts by burning down fourteen tipper trucks, an excavator and motorbikes at Afa Yile in the Dalun electoral area on Saturday, March 3, 2018, ostensibly to prevent people from polluting the Nawuni River which is a source of water supply to the Tamale Metropolis and its environs.

Nitiwul, commenting further defended the military, noting that their actions were justified since they had on four occasions sent a signal to the illegal miners to put an end to their operations in Nawuni River.

“The team had been at the place five times in a bid to arrest the illegal miners but each time they went there, the people run away. They go back and even dig more. Each time they (military) go, the people run away. Meanwhile, Ghana Water Company had decided that they wanted to close down that Treatment Plant. The people were operating illegally. They didn’t have a permit.

So, the military went there for a fifth time and they decided to send a very strong signal to the people that they cannot take the law into their own hands. The information I have is that eight (8) chengfang machines were burnt, twelve tipper trucks were burnt and one excavator and some motorbikes. Chengfang machines cannot be used for sand winning – they are used for the illegal mining and Chengfang machines are placed on the water body”, he explained.

He said should the Ghana Water Company decided to close down the Dalun Water Treatment Plant; there will be calamity in the Tamale metropolis.

Therefore, he had wanted Members of Parliament in the affected communities to have politicized the work of the military but rather supported them to save the country from calamity.

“Mr. Speaker, our water bodies are drying off; River Birim is gone – the Ivorians are complaining that we are spoiling River Bia. River Pra is gone; River Ankobra is going and Volta River – if we don’t stop what is going on the North and we are looking for perpetrators and when we get them we will prosecute them. Go to Upper East today, the Black Volta is getting dried up; the White Volta is also getting dried up and you want us to stop the military? Our river bodies are almost going and if nothing is done, there will be calamity upon calamity. So, Operations Vanguard backup team will continue to their work”, he stressed

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