The youth of Winneba, on Tuesday, staged a massive demonstration against the purported sale of Winneba ramsar site and other preserved heritage lands for mining purposes.
Tuesday’s huge demonstration was a follow-up to an earlier warning jointly issued by the Paramount Chiefs of Effutu, Gomoa Akyenpim and Gomoa Ajumako traditional areas on the same subject matter.
The protected areas, Muni-Pomadze Ramsar Site and Yenku Forest in Winneba, have been preserved for many years and have become part of the embodiment of the people of Effutu, their heritage and culture.
It is important to establish that the heritage sites, which purported sale the youth vehemently protested, serves as the ‘sacred land’ for the people of Winneba, where they hunt dears for their famous Aboakyer Festival yearly.
In view of this, the chiefs have intensely resisted past attempts by Green Metals Resources to purportedly mine lithium in the forest reserve, in a move to continuously protect their heritage for the next generation.
Addressing a press conference on the issue last year, the paramount chief of Effutu, Neenyi Ghartey VII said, “We attach much interest in the area because of its historical, cultural, environmental and economic ties for us.”
Speaking to the media on behalf of the youth, Dr James Kofi Annan, who is a proud native of Winneba, mentioned that the protestation on Tuesday was meant to register their displeasure and disapproval of the alleged move.
According to Dr Annan, there have been a number of attempts to carry out mining activities in the Aboakyer hunting grounds, ramsar site as far back as the year 2007 when a company expressed interest.
The Caribbean Atlantic Holding Ghana Ltd, was said to have applied to the Minerals Commission for a mining concession in the aforementioned areas, but the move was heatedly opposed by the people of Winneba.
Obotan Resources Ltd also allegedly made an effort to mine in the same protected areas in 2012 with an application, but the Effutu people resisted their attempts.
Four years later, Merlic Resources Ltd also sought to mine in the same restricted areas, but their request was vehemently opposed by the good people of Winneba.
The protest, he said, was “against the granting of any form of license and or concession to Green Metal Resources Ltd and or any other individual or company or group of companies for the purposes of mining in the globally recognised and protected WinnbaPomadzeramsar site”.
“We, the people of Winneba by this demonstration and its attendant petition are registering our disgust and protest against the granting of lease, permit or any form of concession to the Green Metals Resources Ltd or any other company for the purposes of mining in or anywhere near the Aboakyer grounds,” he added.
To their surprise, he stated that Green Metal Resources were published as having been under consideration for mining concession in the same area in 2022 but faced fierce protestations from the chiefs.
“It is, therefore, surprising and disgusting that the same Green Metal Resources, which was rejected, has come back again to mine in the sacred ramsar site of the people of Effutu.
“We would like to further state that the people of Winneba derive more perpetual benefits from the celebration of Aboakyer Festival than any anticipated mining of lithium in our protected areas.
“There cannot be any celebration of Aboakyer Festival without the annual hunting the deer in the forest. The destruction of the forest will mean a sad end to the celebration of the Aboakyer Festival,” he stated.
Explaining further, Dr Annan stated that the Aboakyer Festival has been their heritage, which was handed to them by their ancestors.
The present generation, he stated, intended to protect it with pride and passion because it has been their cultural heritage, part of their spiritual being and they, therefore, protest any attempt to desecrate the sanctity of the sacred forest.
The demonstration, which started at the Sanko Junction, saw the protestors paraded through some main streets in the town before they addressed the press at Ntakfam Bridge.
They could not proceed to the Municipal Assembly to present their petition because they were told the Municipal Coordinating Director who was to receive the petition was not at post.
However, an attempt by some of the demonstrators to verify the authenticity of this information turned chaotic as they clashed with the police amidst throwing of stones and firing of teargas.
The police arrested about ten protestors, while about three policemen and some of the protestors sustained injuries, as a result of the clash.Read Full Story