The Forestry Commission has disclosed that from January to December 2, this year,
the outfit has arrested 218 persons involved in illegal mining in forest reserves.
24 culprits so far have been prosecuted and jailed and handed various sentences, while the rest await the determination of their case in court, the head of Corporate Affairs and Media Relations, Joyce Ofori Kwafo has said during an interview on Joyfm’s Midday on Wednesday.
“For the period January 2023 to December 2023 as we speak of today. We have been able to arrest 218 persons and out of the 218 persons, 24 have been prosecuted and jailed- and handed various sentences. The rest are pending in the various courts across the country in the various regions,” she said.
According to her, the arrests came through the Commission’s effort to rid the country off the environmental threat.
Despite the nation wide spread, Madam Kwafo expressed that the commission’s focus has been on the Ashanti, Western, North, Eastern, and Central region as records show these regions are the hotspots for the activity.
“We are looking at all our forest reserves across the regions. We are not looking at one particular area because all our forest reserves are at stake as we speak now. But then the concentration is in the Ashanti, Western, North, Eastern, and Central Regions. This is where the thing is endemic, but we are concentrating on all others,” she explained.
She concluded that as long as the commission exists the fight will persist.
Coupled with its fiscal challenges, Ghana has been battling illegal mining activities over the years.
Top government officials are said to be bosses of the illegal mining sites but have so far remained untouched.
The activity has rendered several water bodies densely polluted and would require a long time to regain their natural states, experts say.
Some farmers have in the recent past threatened to sell their cocoa farms to illegal miners as they stood to make convincing profits from that compared to their life long livelihoods.
This reignited campaigns against the menace as the country’s future turns to be at stake.
However, the advocacy has gone low after months of intense calls on government to help stop the phenomenon.
Madam Kwafo has however stated that the commission is championing various sensitization programmes to educate people on the effects of illegal mining.