Assistant Director of Immigration (ADI) Eric Afari told the B&FT in an interview that illegal mining is one of the activities getting out of control as it is enticing schoolchildren of the town; making them [children] abandon their education and thus putting their futures in jeopardy.
He added: “Most school-going children have abandoned their education just to make ends meet; unfortunately, most parents are unable to control their children”.
ADI Afari is therefore courting the support of traditional leaders in the area to help get the development under control
“In 2015, the service had to clamp down on some foreigners for engaging in such illegal activities — destroying the livelihoods of residents as well as the forest reserves.
“But efforts being made by the unit to stop the ‘galamsey’ activities will be difficult to bring to fruition without the collaboration of traditional leaders.”
According to him, some of the illegal miners are well-armed, thereby making it difficult for security forces in the area to flush them out — because any attempt can lead to jeopardising a person’s future.
According to him, farmers in the district have been complaining about the destruction of their farms as well as their only source of water, which can affect their health status.
“It is a very difficult situation we have now; the galamsey persons in the area are better armed than the security forces, and if you look at the geography and terrain of the area you need to cross a river before getting to the mining site,” he indicated.
Mr. Afari called for stringent efforts to flush out such persons and enable the residents to have peace of mind to engage in their farming activities and improve their livelihoods.
He asked stakeholders to direct their attention to the district and help address the issue before it gets out of hand.
He indicated: “With concerted efforts the children will forced to go back to school, while persons caught in the act will be dealt with according to the law”.