Diana Acconcia, the head of the European Union (EU) delegation to Ghana says it is better to burn excavators than to allow them to be used for illegal mining.
Speaking on the Asaase Breakfast Show Tuesday (6 July) with Kojo Mensah, Acconcia said, “Look, I can tell you this, these excavators were burnt because there were performing illegal activities so I’m not personally shocked by the fact that instruments of illegal activity are seized and are burnt.
“I don’t see why there should be a scandal and yes it is the livelihood of people but they were illegal livelihood and they were unsustainable livelihood. So if your livelihood is destroying the environment then what is going to be there for your children.”
Acconcia added, “I’m not entering into the merit of the methods in detail but I’m really not shocked that some illegal instruments have been seized and burnt. It is better to burn them. I think a couple of years ago they disappeared…it’s better burning them than to be used for illegal mining.”
Many Ghanaians have been outraged by the government’s decision to burn excavators being used by illegal miners.
But President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said those against the burning of excavators and other equipment at illegal mining sites have the right to go to court to seek redress.
“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,” he said.
Meanwhile, Samuel Abu Jinapor, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources has also justified the government’s decision to burn excavators and other mining equipment that are being used for illegal mining in the country.
Jinapor said the decommissioning and/or de-mobilising of equipment, including Changfang, were necessary measures being taken to protect and safeguard the country’s national environment for posterity in accordance with the sacred duty bestowed on the government by the framers of the Constitution under Article 36(9).
The minister was in Parliament to answer a question filed by Samuel Okudjeto Ablakwah, the Member of Parliament for North Tongu.
“I will respectfully but forcefully contend that there is ample legal justification for the conduct of the government in decommissioning or demobilisation of excavators and Changfang illegally used to destroy our environment,” he said.