Defence Minister Dominic Nitiwul has rubbished calls for his resignation over the burning of tipper trucks and excavators used to win sand close to the Dalun river in the Northern Region.
He says such calls are part of a hasty politicization of what is a sensitive matter.
Speaking on Joy FM’s News night, Monday, Nitiwul said the burning was undertaken by the Operation Vanguard buck up team instructed to ensure that the water bodies across the country are “clean by any means possible.”
He was reacting to calls by the Northern caucus of the Minority for him to resign over the burning of the equipment.
At least 14 tipper trucks and an excavator were torched by a crack team of military personnel after several warning to sand winners to stop their illegal activity close to the Dalun river.
Officials of the Ghana Water Company had raised concerns about the continuous pollution of the Dalun river due to the activities of sand winners.
The Northern region relies heavily on dams and rivers for their water supplies but most of these dams and rivers usually dry up in the dry season.
Many communities depend on the Dalun river for water but activities of sand winners have always threatened the safety of the river.
Last month, the National Security issued an ultimatum to all sand winners to stop their illegal activity and evacuate the area but the threat appears to have fallen on deaf ears.
Over the weekend, the Operation Vanguard team set ablaze all the equipment used for sand winning in the area, courting the anger of not just the owners but the Minority MPs.
Chairman of the NDC Northern Region caucus and MP for Tamale Central Inusah Fuseini said the action by the military was reprehensible.
“We are by this statement calling for a full-scale investigation into the operation and 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 equipment and alleged confiscation of monies belonging to those who were brutalized.
“We further demand the immediate resignation of the Minister for Defence, who sought to justify the dastardly act of the military; the resignation of the Northern Regional Minister who we understand… gave the orders,” the statement said.
But the Defence Minister said he had not made any official comment on the matter ever since it happened on Saturday and it will be untrue for the Minority to suggest he had defended it.
He said the operation vanguard buck-up team had been given a specific instruction to ensure that Ghana’s river bodies are clean again and must use every means possible to do that.
Whilst promising to investigate the circumstances under which the equipment were torched, he was quick to add that owners of the equipment were also engaging in an illegal act of galamsey and sand winning, something the government has been ruthless in fighting ever since it won power.