Rivercess County Senator, Wellington Geevon Smith, has declared that the alarming and disturbing rate of illicit mining in the country is as a result a well-crafted syndicate at the Ministry of Land, Mines and Energy. “Nobody at that Ministry of Lands and Mines can tell me that they don’t know what is going on in the interior of this country; even the security aspect of it, in most of the mining areas you have people there who have set up their own cult, their own society, “ Senator Smith disclosed.
The Senator was speaking early this week when the Minister of Lands, Mines and Energy, Mr. Gelser Elbert Murry, appeared before the Senate plenary on a communication that illicit miners, most of them Ghanaians, have been carrying out unscientific mining in the forests of Gbarpolu County and other parts of the country.
The former Superintendent of Rivercess warned that the prevailing situation being in the hands foreigners now needs to go beyond the Senate plenary debate; “This country needs to sit down and look at the threat that is about to hit our face; too many of issues happening in the interior with nationals from all over the subregion and beyond are in the areas.”
Expressing fear of the unborn generation holding the present Legislators responsible for the fast depletion of the country’s mineral resources, Senator Smith asserted that “every director and top official at that Ministry (Lands and Mines) have their group in that interior, they can’t deny that.”
Senator Smith describing the situation as a National security concern, recalled the Minister’s own recent reference to the gravity of the illicit mining by equating it to an “Invasion of the country with illicit miners, and that they must be identified.” For Gbarpolu County Senator Daniel Naatehn whose communication prompted the appearance of the Lands and Mines Minister, he said his county continues to be “victim of this illicit mining activities under the direct supervision of the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy; I, in my belief will hold the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy responsible for the destruction that is taking place in Gbarpolu County.”
Senator Naatehn said the Lands and Mines Ministry’s banning of the use of certain equipment and chemicals is ‘superficial,’ “Because the Minister and the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy have absolutely nothing to stop to stop what it banned.”
Senator Naatehn requested plenary to ascertain from Minister Murry with the presence of his mining agents spread across Gbarpolu County whether they make direct report to him about what is obtaining in their monitored areas.
Even though Senator Naatehn recalled the banning of those dangerous equipment and chemicals, there are still dredges in the waterways in the county. “In fact, what is now being done is that they are now moving inland with their machines with them following the gold…as a traditional son of the area, I convinced the zoes to deploy the country devil on the waterways, and in less than two hours all the Ghanaians left the waterways.”
When I left and returned to Monrovia, they sent for the Assistant Minister for Culture and he went there and told the people that the Senator has got no right to get the zoes to deploy our traditional devil, prompting the Ghanaians to return to the Tumah River and continuing their mining activities there,” said Senator Naatehn.
For the next fifteen to twenty years , Senator asserted that “my people will never be able to use that river for any useful purpose; from the Belleh District all the way to St Paul River that water is destroyed, and right now the Ghanaians with their machines are on the St Paul.” He lamented that all the county’s traditional roads have been destroyed.
“So colleagues, I want the Minister to promise and assure us that instruction given to stop the use dredges and dangerous chemicals will be enforced, and that the Ghanaians be advised to withdraw from the mining areas they are operating illegally to save our people. If not, there are certain things that could happen that you as Minister of Lands and Mines and I including my colleague who has just joined me will not be able to handle in Gbarpolu County.