The Minister of information, Mustapha Hamid has told the Chinese Ambassador to Ghana that the country will not hesitate to apply the full force of the law if any Chinese national is arrested in connection with illegal mining.
The Minister’s remark comes on the heels of government’s massive showdown with galamsey operators and the commitment in ending the illegal mining activities across the country.
The Ghana Immigration Service yesterday arrested the notorious Chinese illegal miner, Aisha Huang while dozens are also being tried for similar offences.
Subsequent to her arrest, a criminal High Court in Accra presided over by Justice Edward Charles Ekow Baiden today remanded into Prison custody the 31-year-old Chinese woman suspected to be one of Ghana’s most notorious illegal miners and her three other Chinese colleagues.
The Chinese Ambassador had earlier expressed reservations about the manner in which the West African country is treating Chinese engaged in illegal small-scale mining (galamsey) following the Akufo-Addo government relentless war against galamsey activities.
“The Chinese side is very concerned about this unhealthy tendency,” said the Chinese Ambassador to Ghana.
But Speaking in an interaction with the Ambassador, Sun Baohong, when she paid a courtesy call on the Minister Tuesday, Mr. Mustapha Hamid reiterated government’s commitment to fighting the menace saying all culprits including the Chinese will face the full rigors of the law, if they are caught.
“Frankly our biggest headache as a country is the destruction of our environment, and we are frightened about the prospect that in ten years if we do not take steps to sanitize our environment, that we would have to import water in order to drink or even to live. That is a very frightening prospect and we don’t want to get there, so as a government we are very determined to stamp out all of the environmental practices that threaten our future, and therefore we want you to help us in that regard. To talk to your citizens, engage them on the need to obey our laws and to behave within the bounds of the law, so that when our laws catch up with any of your citizens, you understand that it is not a crack down on Chinese people because there are many Chinese people who are conducting legitimate business in our country and putting money in our country and employing Ghanaian citizens. And therefore, we cannot allow the few who are not behaving according to law to affect the fortunes of those who are behaving according to law.”
In her response, the Chinese Ambassador stated that the arrest of Chinese nationals allegedly engaged in illegal mining activities is not the panacea to fighting the menace.
According to her, government must rather address the institutional challenges that have allowed the problem to fester.
“…We think it’s very important to provide a very objective view of this issue to the general public of this two countries. If you do not give objective view that actually leads to objective view of the solution of the issue; because only by law enforcement or only by catching Chinese people on the side will not solve this issue. There are more structural issues we need to welcome. But we pledge our commitment to work with this government to find proper solution to the issue.