National Democratic Congress [NDC] Member of Parliament for the Kumbungu Constituency, Ras Mubarak, and his colleague MPs in the Northern Region, want Defence Minister, Dominic Nitiwul summoned before Parliament to explain why some military personnel allegedly set ablaze some heavy duty equipment belonging to sand winners in his constituency.
A contingent of armed military personnel reportedly set fire to 14 tipper trucks and an excavator used for sand winning in the Dalun River, a tributary of the White Volta in the Kumbungu District of the Northern Region.
The action was allegedly taken by the military after several warnings to sand winners to stop their illegal activity close to the river yielded no results.
Speaking to Citi News, Ras Mubarak said the military has no right to set fire to the tipper trucks and excavators.
He thus admonished the affected persons to drag the military to court.
“Definitely, there will be a statement before the floor of parliament that will culminate into a question for the Minister of Defense to appear before Parliament and answer questions surrounding this entire operation because we are governed by laws, and you would know from Act 900 which makes provision for what should be done in cases where people are violating the mining laws.”
“The Act says that if someone is violating the law he should be arrested, adding that their equipment should be seized and the person processed for court. There is nowhere in the law that says the military should go ahead and burn down their equipment. Aside raising it in Parliament, we are also advising the youth not to take the laws into their own hands, but actually seek redress in the country because that is the only place they could get justice,” Ras Mubarak added.
The Ghana Water Company had earlier warned the sand winners to desist from such acts claiming it threatens the source of water supply for the region.
Tipper truck owners demand probe into burning of equipment
The owners of the equipment have called for action against the military personnel.
They massed at the Tamale Chief’s (Dakpema) palace on Sunday March 4, 2018, and demanded a full-scale inquiry into the destruction of their equipment.
They also threatened to demonstrate against government if the issue is not thoroughly investigated and the owners compensated.
Below is a statement the northern caucus minority
MINORITY CONDEMNS MILITARY OPERATIONS IN KUMBUNGU DISTRICT
The Minority Caucus of the Northern Region condemns in the strongest of terms the brutish and callous manner in which a detachment of the military under the directions of the Regional Security Council, seized and burnt fourteen (14) tipper trucks, an excavator and several motorbikes in the Afa Yile community of the Dalun electoral area in the Kumbungu District.
Indeed, it came to the attention of the Minority Caucus in parliament that on Saturday March 3, 2018, at about 11:am, a group of drivers while winning sand at a place determined for them by the Northern Region Security Council, were pounced upon by a contingent of military personnel ostensibly to arrest them.
While not condoning any activity that adversely impacts the environment and compromises the ability of the Ghana Water Company to continue to deliver portable water to consumers within its catchment area, the Minority Caucus is at a loss, at the justification for adopting instant justice to deal with alleged perpetrators of illegal sand winning without recourse to the law courts.
The threats to our natural resources is something that must be of concern to all well-meaning Ghanaians, but that obviously should not give anybody the impudence to act with impunity .
It is important to state that, the state in all its constitution has a duty to protect lives and property of its citizens.
The protection of property is more acute and demanding in the Northern Region, considering that the region is one of the poorest regions of the country.
We are by this statement calling for a full scale investigation into the operation and the circumstances leading to the assault on the persons who were in charge of the vehicles at the time, the burning down of those vehicles and equipments, and the alleged confiscation of monies belonging to those who were brutalized.
We further demand the immediate resignation of the Minister for Defense, who has sought to justify the dastardly act of the military; the resignation of the Northern Regional Minister who we understand, as head of the Regional Security Council, gave orders for the perpetration of this heinous act; the resignation of the DCE for Kumbungu, who was aloof while these acts of violence were committed against his own people.
We further call for compensation to be paid to those who have lost property and those who suffered personal injuries as a result of this illegal, unwarranted and uncalled for operation.
Signed: Alhaji Inusah Fuseini, MP for Tamale Central and Chairman of the NDC Northern Region Caucus, Parliament.
By: Godwin Akweiteh Allotey/citifmonline.com/Ghana