The chiefs and people of Effutu Traditional Area have cautioned the Mineral Commission to as a matter of urgency, revise its decision to allow mining activity at the Muni-Pomadze Ramsar Site and Yenku Forest.
“What we are saying is that if they fail to listen to us, we will resist any attempt whatsoever, to ensure that the place is secured and protected for our generation to enjoy the benefits,” they stated.
These were contained in a statement issued by Effutu Traditional Council, and read by the Omanhen, Neenyi Ghartey VII, Effutu at a conference held at Effutu Ekorfu, a community in the Effutu Municipality, in response to a pending application of mineral rights in Muni Pomadze Ramsar site by Legislative Instrument (LI) 2176.
The Effutu State, Neenyi Ghartey indicated, has an ahistorical linkage to the Ramsar Site which defines their identity, and as such strongly condemned and rejected the said proposed license application.
He said for the sake of peace, they must stop working on the document as it would not help them in any way.
According to him, they settled lower down the intended site, but the proposed mining site formed a border from where their ancestors saw the enemy and within the lagoon, they fought battles and lost men just like the Ashanti, so the Ramsar Site and the Muni Lagoon were sacred and require their protection.
Neenyi Ghartey further noted that the sanctity and integrity of the Aboakyer Festival, which was commenced by their ancestors over 500 years ago, would be affected because the area was where the two Asafo Companies had been going to hunt for live bushbuck all these years.
If mining is allowed in the area, the Paramount Chief insisted, that will endanger the environment, destroy the topography of the area and drive wildlife away, destroy the source of livelihood for many people who were dependent on the lagoon resources.
“Recently, we decided to improve the environment by seriously embarking on tree planting to reverse the downwards trend in the forest cover due to low rainfall pattern, intense cattle grazing and poverty situation forcing our women to cut the shrubs for firewood,” he stated.
He revealed that last year, the Traditional Council transported 6,000 seedlings of cassia and mahogany and 2,000 coconut seedlings to the area, and during this year’s Green Ghana Day, it supported the programme with food for the volunteers to plant mangroves along the banks of the Muni Lagoon.
“It is on record that, Ghana is a signatory to the Ramsar Convention to protect this site which is identified as an important wetland and in respect of that, the Muni-Pomadze Ramsar Site is protected under the Wetlands management (Ramsar) Regulations 1999, LII659, which covers most part of Coastal Winneba, the Pratu, Ntakorfa streams and the Muni Lagoon,” he said.
Neenyi Ghartey said several written letters by the Council over the years to the Mineral Commission expressing its displeasure for failing to protect the said Ramsar Site were yet to be replied to.
He added that to consider giving it to Green Metal Resources Limited for mining purposes was incredibly sad and must be stopped.
“There are five coastal wetlands in the country and all these sites have problems, hence the need for us to protect our historical heritage.
“We do not want to arrive at the same state as Accra and other flood-prone communities in the country and we the people of Effutuman are saying “NO” to Mining operations or activities at the Muni-Pomadze Ramsar Site, since we attach much interest in the area, because of its historical, cultural, environmental, and economic ties for us,” he added.
Present at the conference were sub chiefs, Asafo companies, youth representatives and other stakeholders, who were dressed in red cloth, signing and chanting Asafo war songs in protest against the Minerals Commission’s intended action, which they stressed must be halted.