Three Ghanaian citizens, Elikem Kotoko, Stephen Kwabena Attuh and Issifu Seidu Kudus Gbeadese, have petitioned UN Secretary-General António Guterres to remove President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo from the Eminent Group of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Advocates as a Co-Chair.
According to the petition, the president is complicit in the resurgence of illegal small-scale mining (galamsey) in Ghana, which has proven inimical to the country’s water bodies and the environment in general.
The UN, under Goal 6 of the SDGs, has set out to provide a world in which there is safe access to water at the most affordable cost to every citizen across the globe.
Under its Goal 13, the UN commits also to a safer climate.
The petitioners noted that the actions of the officials have resulted in the pollution of water bodies in some parts of the country.
The petition said: “Reports have indicated how a section of the Ghanaian population risk not having access to safe water in a few years to come if the activities of illegal miners are not checked.
“In recent times, there were revelations to the effect that party officials, members, and government officials, are deeply involved in ‘galamsey’ activities that have proven dangerous to the future of the people of Ghana.
“We recall how the President, somewhere in 2017, committed to the fight against illegal small-scale mining and had placed his presidency on the line to fight it. Following the revelations of involvement by his party officials and appointees in the entire galamsey set up, the President has not taken any action to reprimand any of his appointees.
“Indeed, following the exposé by Tiger Eye of Mr Charles Bissue, where he was captured on video taking bribe to compromise the fight against ‘galamsey’, the President would have been expected to crack the whip and to set an example to others. Unfortunately, Mr Bissue has been cleared of any wrongdoing and brought back to his position at the seat of government.
“The petitioners are of the firm view that the President has shown lack of will to fight ‘galamsey’ and fight all its related corrupt practices which have proven potent to erode the Goals 6, 13, 14 and 15 of the UN SDG Action Campaign.
“As a Co-Chair of the Eminent Group of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Advocates, the petitioners believe President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was supposed to be a living example to his compatriots and counterparts. According to them, the president has proven unfit for reference by his counterparts across other parts of the world as committed to the realisation of the SDG goals.
“The petitioners believe that his removal from the position as a co-Chair, would send strong signals that the United Nations is highly committed to the defined goals, and is unwilling to entertain individuals members whose actions or inactions are defeating the purposes they have set out to achieve under the SDGs or will compromise the goals in any way.