The Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, George Mireku Duker, has outdoored 87 River Wardens to work with the Navy to patrol the River Ankobra and Bonsa in the Western Region amid the activities of illegal miners to ensure sustainable mining in Ghana.
Speaking at the initiation event in Takoradi, Mr. Duker said this reinforces the government’s commitment to fighting galamsey and therefore has adequately resourced them with five-speed boats and a pick-up.
“The River Wardens who will be deployed today to provide security to the country’s various river bodies to save them from further destruction as a result of illegal mining activities, popularly called galamsey, comes after successfully undergoing a four-week intensive pre-deployment training program at the Eastern Naval Command, Tema. All 87 River Wardens will be deployed along Ankobra, Bonsa, and parts of Pra Rivers. These river wardens have been equipped with swimming techniques, water confidence, and boat handling among others. There is no shred of doubt that today’s event further underscores the 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 investment community at large,” he said.
To ensure adequate monitoring of their work, George Mireku Duker said the Ministry will be monitoring their work to prevent bribery, but however, asked the wardens to be patriotic and ward off corruption in their operation.
“The Ministry is in the process to procure body cams for the river wardens for the purposes of their operations. Each and every River Warden will be fitted with one body cameras to monitor their activities at the National Control Center. This will help monitor their own safety and also track those that may be compromised through receiving bribes. Life Jackets will be provided to all in the line of duty.
“Arrangements have been made for some motorbikes and pick-up vehicles to support your operations… Daunting days lie ahead of you. The temptations of bribery, greed for money, and many more are likely to sway off your purpose, but I urge you to put on the armour of patriotism, selflessness, and integrity in the discharge of your duties.”
The Western Regional Minister, Kwabena Okyere Darko Mensah, also speaking at the event, challenged the newly recruited River Wardens not to allow galamseyers to influence them with money in their line of duty.
He added that their success would motivate the government to release more funds to train 200 more wardens to patrol the Pra and Offin Rivers.
On his part, the Deputy Chief Executive of the Minerals Commission, Samuel Tika, asked the River Wardens to make their military training count by ensuring discipline to avoid being sacked.
He noted that personnel would be rotated to avert any influences and receive regular salary payments and free healthcare to motivate them.