…For Desecrating Oda Forest Reserve Through Illegal Mining
From Alhaji Bashiru Zakari, Bepotenten
The Ashanti Regional Minister, Dr. Samuel Sarpong, has ordered the immediate arrest of Mr. Robert Dzamasi, a National Disaster and Management Organisation (NADMO) Co-ordinator of the Adansi South District for his alleged involving in the desecration of the Oda Forest Reserve through illegal mining activities.
Mr. Dzamasi, who is also the Adansi South Constituency secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), is said to be fronting for some Chinese nationals in the operation of illegal mining in the forest.
He has reportedly claimed that he was operating in the Forest with the authority and orders from above and dared any forestry official who stood in his way to face dismissal or transfer to a remote area in the country.
The Ashanti Regional Minister who expressed disgust at the wanton destruction of economic trees in the forest and directed the police to immediately arrest the NADMO Coordinator whose name was mentioned as the brained behind the illegal operation in the forest reserve to find out whoever was his (Dzamasi‘s) source of authority and encouragement .
Minister Sarpong at the head of the Regional Security Council (REGSEC) and in the company of the Regional Police Commander, DCOP Kofi Boakye, made the order when visited the Oda Forest at Bepotenten on Tuesday to ascertain the extent of devastating effect the illegal mining was causing the forest.
Mr. Francis Bawuah, Bekwai District Manager of Forestry Services Division reported to the REGSEC that government appointees and functionaries are directly involved in the devastation of the forest and that forestry officials are threatened with loss of jobs and transfer should in care the forestry official losing their jobs or transfer attempt to prevent illegal miners from operating.
According to the Manager, the 164.34 km forest falls under two political Districts, Amansie West and Amansie Central and explained that an inspection of the Forest on May 4 this year revealed that one Robert, a NADMO Coordinator from the Adansi South District who was in charge of the illegal operation had cleared about 20 hectares of the forest and caused damage to tree species.
Dr. Samuel Sarpong admitted that fighting the illegal mining was obviously a huge task but expressed the hope that with determination it could be eliminated.
He said the government was doing every possible means to fight against the illegal mining, and will not entertain any official from the government or an appointee to put the name of the government in disrepute in the name of galamsey.
The Minister lamented on the devastating effects of illegal mining on our natural resources including the lands, water bodies and forest reserve, and stressed the need to curb it before future generations suffer as a result.
Meanwhile, as part of efforts by the government to check illegal mining, the Anti –Galamsey Task Force headed by Deputy Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr. Joseph Yamin has confiscate 13 excavators at various illegal mining sites and arrested two Ghanaians and 10 Chinese who will soon be prosecuted after investigations.
Meanwhile, the Assistant Ashanti Regional Forestry Director, Mr. Isaac Noble Eshun has condemned the huge devastation of the Oda forest by illegal miners at Bepotenten in the Amansie Central district of the Ashanti Region.
He said the destruction of 8 hectares of Oda forest is a big blow to the nation.
Mr. Eshun stated that the forest is a very good forest made up of medicinal trees and plants, which will be needed in the preparation of medicines.
According to Mr. Eshun, the destruction is so much that the forest has lost its top soil and that the devastation will have a telling effect on the environment.
The assistant Forestry Director noted that the land which has been devastated can be restored with the advice of experts.
Pix: Robert Dzamasi, NADMO Co-ordinator Adansi South District