Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin, the Okyenhene, has appealed to Ghanaians to ensure the sustainable use and preservation of rivers and water bodies in the country for the benefit of the future generation.
He also underscored the importance of protecting the global biodiversity and the potential of nature-based solutions for tackling the climate crisis.
The Okyehene made the appeal in Accra, when he delivered the keynote address at the University of Professional Studies’ Graduate Practitioners Forum, 2021 on the theme, “Revamping Strategies for Business in Crises: Ghana Our Past, Present, and Future.”
“The rule of nature states that one must stay in harmony with his environment and not dominate or destroy it,” the Okyenhene stated.
“The menace of galamsey and chainsaw operations, and reckless unsupervised community mining is killing us and we should stop it.”
He said with the present issue of proper policing, Ghanaians could repair many of the damage done to the environment.
“Many of us have shed tears of anger and frustrations, knowing that some of destructions in most cases are irreversible.”
He said in many instances, trees were cut down without replacement, with serious consequences for the future and the solution to Ghana’s environmental degradation was that all hands must be on deck.
“Now, let me just say, we should stop the blame game. We should stop the name callings, the lies and the mischief. Some people have spent their life time having the decision to love nature. You know, you may not like me, you may not like the way I look, or where I am from or what I do, but it does not give you any right to insult me and to call me names.
“When I was a student in Boston (in the United States), I joined the protest against apartheid in the 1970s, and I had a t-shirt, that I still have and an inscription on the t-shirt said: “apartheid you got to be in it to know it.”
“Most of the people who talk the way they do; don’t even know how we are suffering in the galamsey areas; they don’t know, and what we are doing to stop it they don’t know.”
The Okyenhene said: “If you are a father and you raise your children, and one of them just goes wayward, and give him all the best advice you can and he does not listen… and he ends up in jail,that does not make you a bad father. It does not make you a bad parent. That doesn’t.”
“I am an Akyem, and I am proud to be an Akyem, but there is something much more important, I am a Ghanaian,that is much more important than anything else.
“And the river bodies that are being polluted and destroyed-the Pra, the Oti and the Abirim are all national assets.”
He said all over the world, every nation was taking on the fight against environmental degradation; saying “our life support system is threatened; the food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe are all under siege.”
“Not only are we going to worry about galamsey menace, we also have to worry about poor sanitation and waste management in our cities.”
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Professor Abednego Feehi Okoe Amartey, Vice-Chancellor, UPSA, said the University placed a lot of premium on offering and teaching students how to perform on the job market.
Dr John Mawutor, Dean, School of Graduate Studies, UPSA, said the Annual Forum was to afford students the opportunities to learn from the experience of captains of industries.