Government has equipped and deployed 87 river wardens to protect the country’s river bodies as part of the sustained efforts at fighting illegal mining, also known as galamsey.
The river wardens responsibility is expected to help save the river bodies from further destruction due to the unending galamsey activities across the country.
After an intensive training programme, the river wardens have also gone through an orientation has to prepare them for the task ahead.
The river wardens successfully underwent a four-week intensive pre-deployment training programme at the Eastern Naval Command.
Through the training, they have been equipped with swimming techniques, water confidence, boat handling, classroom work, practical demonstrations, physical training and drills.
They will now be deployed along the Ankobra, Bonsa and Pra rivers all in the Western Region and have been equipped with life jackets for all in line of duty, motorbikes and pick-up vehicles to support their operations.
Speaking at the orientation ceremony, the Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, George Mireku Duker said the deployment of the wardens further underscores government’s determination to fight illegal mining across the country and build a responsible, viable and sustainable mining industry that will be beneficial to the state and the investor community at large.
He urged the wardens to be patriotic, selfless, and uphold national and personal integrity in the discharge of their duties, while cautioning them against temptations of bribery, greed for money among others that are likely to sway off the purpose for which they were deployed.
The idea behind the river wardens the Deputy Minister further explained, was to train and deploy wardens to monitor the various river bodies and report on illegal activities polluting the river bodies.
He said it was obvious that whenever operation halt undertakes its operations, “since they are not permanently stationed, illegal miners return to the water bodies to perpetuate their criminal activities.”
The ministry he said was of the firm believe that, “If these river wardens who are going to monitor these activities work as expected, we believe it will go a long way to help protect our water bodies.”
Mr Duker said apart from the logistics provided for the river wardens, the Ministry is also in the process to procure body cams for them for the purposes of their operations.
“Every river warden will be fitted with one body cam to monitor his or her activities at the National Control Centre,” explaining that equipping them with the body cams would help the ministry monitor the safety of the wardens as well as track those that may be compromised in various ways.
Also, government, he said, will procure more speedboats, especially the locally manufactured boats in the coming days to support the activities of the river wardens.
The President’s vision
The deputy minister, who is also a Member of Parliament for Tarkwa Nsuaem Constituency in the Western Region, said the ministry remains committed to the vision of the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to make the country the mining hub of Africa, by promoting a responsible, viable, sustainable and environmentally-sound small scale mining industry anchored on integrity.
“The operations of the five-speed boats working closely with the river wardens and connected to the newly established situational room at the Minerals Commission is expected to yield the desired results,” he said.
That he said will contribute, meaningfully, to the national economy saying, “We will never relent on this effort, and with the support of everyone, we shall succeed in the fight against illegal mining and the protection of our environment is a national priority.”
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