Abukwa Royal Charges
A royal of the Ofori Panin Stool of Akyem-Abuakwa, Odehye Nana Kwame Adjei Boateng, has publicly and boldly stepped out, accusing the occupant of the Ofori Panin Stool, Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin II of being neck deep in illegal mining, popularly known as ‘Galamsey’ and recommended he should be arrested by the police.
He suggested that the Okyehene’s posture of an “Environmentalist” was a cover-up, because he; the “Okyehene is deeply involved in the galamsey, he is doing it, and he is the head of galamsey” he told The Herald in an exclusive interview, last week brandishing official receipts from the “Office of the Okyenhene” issued to a known galamsey operator.
According to Odehye Boateng, “we have evidence, let us arrest them my dear, if we just use two or three as example, the rest will stop. But the government is not helping matters. You see, sometimes you need to call spade a spade not a big spoon. The government is also playing around”.
His concerns, comes months after the Member of Parliament (MP) for Abuakwa South, Samuel Atta Akyea, made similar allegations about the Okyehene, which infuriated him leading to a number of his sub-chiefs, storming an Accra-based Montie FM to deny the allegation and poured libation, whilst cursing the MP, who is also a royal from the Ofori Panin House.
“If President Mahama is saying Kyebi is the headquarters of galamsey, he (Okyehene) is the head of galamsey; Okyehene is the commander [in chief] of galamsey. If he wants, today he can stop the galamsey. Believe in me, if he wants the galamsey to be stopped, it will stop”, Odehye Boateng, stressed.
Apart from the illegal mining, the Kyebi royal alleged that the Okyenhene, is also involved in indiscriminate felling of historic trees at Banso; the Akyem Royal Mausoleum, for sale, despite holding himself as a green movement campaigner and owner of Okyenhene Environment Foundation.
He also alleged that the Okyehene, owns an armed gang operating as a taskforce collecting monies and ensuring that it is only those with official receipts issued from the palace are the ones operating the illegal mines.
“As we are speaking, he is doing it. My brother is doing it. He has never been truth in all his life I tell you”, Odehye Boateng said in reference to the Okyenhene’s involvement in the Galamsey, in particular.
Odehye Boateng, in 1999 nearly became the Okyenhene, after the demise of the highly respected Osagyefo Kuntunkunuku II. He was later banished by the Okyehene, for publicly accusing him of being behind the illegal mining in the area.
The Cuban trained Engineer spoke to The Herald as a follow up to President John Mahama’s description of Kyebi as “headquarters of Galamsey”, he incurred the wrath of some chiefs and the Okyeman Youth Association (OYA).
Odehye Boateng, described OYA as a “fake group” manned by one Daniel Marfo Ofori Panin, who doubles as Assistant Secretary to Okyeman Council.
He expressed regret about attempt by some individuals and groups to discredit President Mahama, saying it is only those who are involved in the illegal act that will be angry with what the President said.
Odehye Boateng, disputed a question that he is accusing the otherwise noble man; Okyehene, mainly because he contested him for the Stool and lost, hence out to defame him.
The man, who turns 50 soon, explained that as a royal of the Ofori Panin Stool, it was incumbent upon him to serve as watchdog of the stool and have the right to speak on the omissions and commissions of the occupant of the stool, despite verbal attacks from ‘boys’ around the Okyehene.
Accusations that Okyehene was involved in the environmentally destructive “Galamsey” venture, landed Odehye Boateng and two others in trouble sometime 2011. He, Elvis Boakye Yiadom and Akwesi Amofa of the Royal Asona Clan, were later banished in 2012 by Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin, with every Akyem citizen warned not to have contact with them.
The three, later filed a suit at the High Court in 2012, challenging their expulsion from the Akyem Abuakwa Area, but the Okyehene, denied ever performing that act.
Odehye Boateng, a Cuban trained Engineer, proposed that to completely stop the menace of “Galamsey”, which has destroyed many lands, farms, river bodies and other properties, the Government in collaboration with the Police, should call Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin II, to order by questioning him and pointing to him in the face to stop his illegal act.
He criticized the Government and the security agencies, for failing to point to Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin, that he was involved Galamsey and asking him to stop, adding that the moment this is done, he will have no choice, but to cease the menace completely.
“The government is not helping enough, the government is not doing enough why; some of us are here ready to volunteer information to help them clampdown on these people, because we know some of the chiefs who are doing this”, Odehye Boateng, asserted.
“We have evidence, let us arrest them my dear, if we just use two or three as example, the rest will stop. But the government is not helping matters. You see, sometimes you need to call spade a spade, not a big spoon, the government is also playing around”, he said.
According to him, “sometimes, people read meanings into all those things, because may be they will say that the government doesn’t like Okyehene, let us put politics aside. What is not good is not good, you understand?
Odehye Boateng averred “… if they call him to question him and tell him that Nana, stop what you are doing, it is not fair, you understand? It is not good, you are destroying the river bodies, you are contaminating the water bodies, you are destroying the environment, Nana stop, you understand? Call spade a spade, Nana stop what you are doing”.
“When you just get up and say Nana, you see some of your chiefs or people are doing this; it means he is not involved tell him you are involved you are doing it, other than that he would not stop”, opined.
He wondered why the Okyehene, an environment and green movement campaigner, will allow these miners to invade lands to the extent of mining almost hundred meters away from his private residence, but will say that he has not sanctioned it.
The royal, who minced no words revealed to this paper how Osagyefo once took a miner to Kyebi Magistrate Court for illegally mining on his land and the act was halted almost immediately.
Odehye Boateng, who is the cousin of Okyenhene, recalled how some time ago, he warmed Kyebihene Osabarima Twiretwie Boakye Dankwa to stop mining on his mother’s land and subsequently, the land was left for him.
He particularly accused the Kyebihene, who was jumping from one radio station to the other few weeks ago condemning President Mahama, of starting the whole galamsey menace in the Akyem Abuakwa Area.
He believes that if such an urgent move is initiated, not only will Osagyefo stop the act, his subjects who also perpetuate the menace will also follow suit.
“There are so many things that one need not to say, you understand. Some are history but if you say it, people will say because you were not made the Okyehene you have something against him. No, I have nothing against him. He is not truthful that man”
Odehye Boateng, who confidently spoke to this paper, provided various documents to buttress his claims, alleging that, aside Osagyefo Amoatia, some of the chiefs and all the young men around Osagyefo inside the Palace, are also involved, adding that these youth are usually found wielding guns ready to attack anyone who dares them.
“All the boys around him are all “galamseyers”, they have guns. I was attacked with the Police, we were nearly lynched. Okyenhene is the head of all galamsey activities, he said.
He recalled how in the wake of his first accusation in 2011, he was nearly lynched together with some Police officers, after he made an attempt to speak about the issue at the Palace.
He said, the desire to teach him a lesson was so pervasive that in his attempt to seek protection from the then Regional Minister, Dr. Kwasi Akyem Apea-Kubi, to visit the Palace with some Policemen to substantiate his claim, he was advised by the Minister to discard the idea if he feels his life was indeed, in danger.
He described the likes of Kukurantumihene (Okyeman Adontenhene) Dasebre Boamah Darko and Wenchihene (Osiawuo) Dasebre Nyarko Asumadu Apea, as very genuine and responsible men who will never meddle in Galamsey.
The engineer, who said he did not fear for his life, despite the many attacks on him, provided a photocopy of one of the receipts issued by “Office of the Okyehene”, bearing the name Kwaku Manu, a galamsey operator, who paid a total of Gh¢1000.00 for the completion of a certain “Ahenfie Project” and Okyehene Environment Foundation.
He said, there was a standby taskforce located at the Palace that goes about inspecting receipts of miners and anyone found without the receipt bearing “Office of the Okyehene”, he will be forced out of the land. The receipt which was issued on November 22, 2010 was signed by Okyehene’s Abodeesahene, Barima Yentumi.
He questioned why the Council and Okyehene, are unable to use some of the moneys they take from the ‘galamseyers’, to re-construct the roads they claim is in bad state.