We're disappointed in Nana Addo's comment on the burning of excavators - Small Scale miners Association

Michael Peprah, the President of the Small Scale miners Association of Ghana, has expressed disappointment in the comments of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for endorsing the burning of excavators seized from illegal miners.

Galamsey excavator

There have been public concerns on the destruction of the equipment, especially excavators with some suggesting that they should rather be seized and allow the court processes to determine what should be done with them.

Some suggested that many politicians were the ones behind illegal mining and hence the fight may fail again.

But the President speaking at a sod-cutting ceremony for the commencement of a Law Village Project in Accra on Wednesday, May 26, 2021, said the destruction of the equipment being used to pollute water bodies and destroy forest reserves will not stop until the criminal acts are halted.

"I say with all the emphasis at my command, that no rights can accrue to or flow from the criminal venture of galamsey. The equipment which is being used for an illegal or criminal purpose cannot confirm on the owner or any other person any rights whatsoever,"he said.

He stated that "I know there are some who believe that the ongoing exercise of ridding our water bodies and forest zones of harmful equipment and machinery is unlawful and in some cases harsh. I strongly disagree, and I will advise those who take a contrary view to go to court to vindicate their position if they so wish. That is what the rule of law is all about."

But Peprah speaking on the Accra-based Starr FM on Thursday, May 27, 2021, said he was shocked at the comments by the President.

He said "When we had a stakeholder meeting with them, they didn’t mention anything about the burning of excavators. I don’t think the President is a lawyer because if he were, he wouldn’t have spoken the way he did. And how dare we make the military appear as judges?"

"We shouldn't embolden the military to go about burning excavators. That’s not how rule of law works in a country…we were not expecting our president to speak like this, honestly," he stressed.

He added: "I know there are some who believe that the ongoing exercise of ridding our water bodies and forest zones of harmful equipment and machinery is unlawful and in some cases harsh. I strongly disagree and I will advise those who take a contrary view to go to court to vindicate their position if they so wish. That is what the rule of law is all about?"

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