National security: Ghana indicts Nigeria, China, four others over illegal mining

From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja

The Republic of Ghana has bemoaned activities of foreigners in the business of illegal mining in Ghana, saying the situation is impacting on its national security.

The Ghanaian delegation to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament, listed China, Nigeria, Togo, Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Mali as countries whose nationals are engaging in illegal mining in Ghana.

Presenting its country report at the ongoing 2021 first ordinary session of the ECOWAS Parliament, the Ghanaian delegation said illegal mining remained a major issue of national security concern for Ghana.

The delegation added that in recent times, the surge in illegal mining activities has threatened to destroy the vegetative cover and water bodies in parts of the country.

The parliamentarians further said the persistence of the menace despite efforts by governments in the past, was an indication of the gravity of the problem.

“The participation of foreigners, particularly Chinese and nationals of some ECOWAS member states such as Togo, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Mali, have made the fight against illegal mining more daunting.

“However, at the turn of the new year, the government, in collaboration with other key stakeholders, has renewed the fight against illegal mining. This has birthed Operation Halt, which is currently underway in places where river bodies and vegetative cover have been destroyed. The operation promises to be successful. Some of the illegal miners have been arrested and processed before court,” the Ghanaian delegation said.

Speaking further, the delegation said the activities of nomadic herdsmen, which often result in conflicts between herdsmen and residents of crop farming communities, remained a perennial problem.

The delegation also said the situation has, however, been largely managed following the launch of Operation Cowleg and the introduction of the cattle ranching programme.

The delegation said the recent surge in terrorist activities in neighbouring and other countries in the sub-region, placed the country at risk of terrorist attack.

The delegation however said in the past year, the Ministry of National Security of Ghana, stepped up its counter-terrorism efforts to avert an occurrence of a terrorist attack, particularly at the northern frontier which borders Burkina Faso.

“It is important to state that in 2017, Ghana launched its framework for countering terrorism and violent extremism. The framework contains overarching plan and multifaceted roles to be played by all state security and intelligence agencies to prevent terrorism and violent extremism. A major step towards the implementation of the framework, was the establishment of the counter-terrorism fusion centre. The fusion centre continues to monitor developments regarding terrorism in the sub-region, analyse terrorist threats and provide strategic warning and recommendations for action.”

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