Mr Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, Eastern Regional Minister, on Thursday appealed to chiefs to stop releasing lands to “galamsey” operators whose activities are posing great health hazards in the affected communities.
He said those galamsey operators were degrading arable land and destroying water bodies, adding that the “activities of these selfish individuals are seriously affecting lives and properties in the communities involved”.
Mr Ofosu-Ampofo was addressing an end of year meeting of the Eastern Regional House of Chiefs in Koforidua.
He told the chiefs that next year, the government would embark on the Youth in Agriculture project and appealed to them to release lands for people in their communities who may express interest to participate in the project.
Mr Ofosu-Ampofo expressed worry about the activities of some people who are fanning chieftaincy disputes in the region, especially in the Akuapem, Manya Krobo and Akwamu Traditional areas.
He therefore urged all traditional areas to be cautious of those people so that they could live in harmony with each other to ensure the speedy development of their communities.
Mr Ofosu-Ampofo appealed to kingmakers to adhere to the norms and conventions of their communities to ensure that the laid down procedures for installation of chiefs are followed without compromise.
“I hope when this is done we will be able to live in peace so that we can develop our communities and the nation as a whole”.
The regional minister told the chiefs that the region still occupies the first position in both maternal mortality and HIV/AIDS cases in the country, and urged them as major stakeholders to join the crusade against maternal mortality and AIDS so as to reduce them to the barest minimum.
He later presented assorted drinks and a sheep to the chiefs.
Daasebre Professor Oti Boateng, Omanhene of the New Juaben Traditional Area, who is also the President of the regional House of chiefs, gave the assurance that they the chiefs would not allow chieftaincy contractors to continue to foment disputes in the area.
“We will nib in the bud the activities of chieftaincy contractors”, he said.
Daasebre Oti Boateng reminded all about the promulgation of the new chieftaincy law and urged the people to acquaint themselves with it.
He said under the new law before a chief could be destooled, specific charges must be preferred against the chief to enable him to respond.
Therefore, the days when a chief could be destooled by just slaughtering a sheep were gone, Daasebre said.