Bolgatanga, Sept. 25, GNA – The Upper East Regional police has arrested two elderly people at Gbane in the Talensi District after a Press Conference organised by clan heads to express their displeasure of losing their livelihoods to a Chinese mining firm.
The two old men aged 80 and 70 years respectively are Badaman Yinduri and Yin Tengbil and they are currently in detention at the Zuarungu Police Station.
The four clan heads of the Gbane community, which include Kugre Teng of Gbandanyile, Badami -Kawol Yindukni of Paryire, Daare –Bey Beogeomi of Daatuk and Yin Tengbil, indicated during the press conference that their farmlands had been taken away due to the activities of the Chinese mining firm, the Shaanxi Mining Company.
Mr. Yindure said he used to harvest 32 bags of millet, 10 bags of beans, 15 bags of groundnuts and five bags of beans but cannot now do so since his farmlands had been taken away.
“I have a wife and 32 children and siblings and I cannot now take good care of them and as a result most of them have travelled down south to look for menial jobs,” Mr. Yindure lamented.
A total number of 120 women, who were present at the Press Conference, indicated that they could not pick sheanuts again because many of the sheanut tress had been cut down.
Madam Poshek Tobigu, a 57 year old sheanut picker, said her livelihoods had been taken away and that the total landmark area occupied by the Chinese Mining Company used to be full of sheanut trees “but now they are all gone.”
“I have six children and I used to get money from the proceeds from the picking of sheanut to help support my husband and cater for my children but now I cannot. Some of them have left the area for greener pastures in the south,” she said.
Madam Ziabah Pobebaya, another 49-year-old sheanut picker, said she used to pick 15 to 20 bags of sheanut and this helped in improving her livelihood.
“I have sold all the animals I bought through the proceeds of the sheanut to take care of my six children and cannot get much sheanut like I used to pick in the past because of the Chinese mining activities”, she lamented.
Mr. Tengbil said the Minerals Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) failed to contact the four clans who were the elders of the communities and rather consulted the settlers.
Speaking on phone in an interview, the Upper East Regional Police Commander, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP) Bright Oduro, expressed doubts that the mining operations of the Chinese had dislodged the farmers from their farms as they claim.
He affirmed a suspicion that the press conference was initiated by the same agitators who he said destroyed and made away with property worth millions of cedis in a bloody demonstration that erupted at Gbani on May 9, this year.
“Go deeper and find out those who are behind this press conference. As media men, find out those who are instigating these poor farmers to organise this press conferences,” he challenged.