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The Queen Mother of Adafienu in the Some’ Traditional area in the Ketu South Municipality of the Volta Region, Mama Ayaba Duse Equagoo II, has underscored the need for Chiefs and Queen Mothers in mining-affected areas to undertake some form of paralegal training.

Such pieces of training, the queen mother noted, would help traditional rulers to acquire basic legal knowledge and skills in the law which would eventually help them arbitrate in their palaces.

She also urged her colleagues in the chieftaincy institution to take advantage of any available opportunity offered to them for training to improve their knowledge in mining and the extractive sector in general.

She mentioned that chiefs being custodians of the land in most cases, there is a need for them to have some basic knowledge of law to enable them to engage effectively with mining firms for the betterment of their people.

Mama Ayaba Duse Equagoo II, was one of the community activists and leaders who were offered paralegal training by the Centre for Public Interest Law (CEPIL) with support from the Ford Foundation.

During the training, participants, selected mainly from mining-affected communities were taken through the minerals and mining laws of Ghana, rights of communities in terms of their engagement with the government for the release of area for mining, revenue streams as provided under the Mineral and Mining Act, determination of compensation, mining licenses among other important topics.

The paralegal trainees serve as receptors and gatherers of community-level intelligence on breaches of law and violations of the rights of citizens by mining companies.

Mama Ayaba Duse Equagoo II, who doubles as the President and Founder of Adefienu Nyornu Nyenye Nyo Haborbor, a women-centered Association, indicated that communities most often look up to their leaders for guidance and protection of their human rights, thus there is the need for leaders particularly Chiefs and Queen mothers to upgrade themselves to enable them to fight for their people.

In an interview with Public Agenda at her residence in Denu in the Ketu South Municipality of the Volta Region, the queen mother pleaded with CEPIL and like-minded organizations to continue to assist in training activists and leaders to understand the law.

“So I will plead that they plan this paralegal training for chiefs especially the educated ones and the queen mothers so that we can help our people while we are alive.”

The queen mother expressed gratitude to CEPIL for selecting her to be part of the training, emphasizing that, should another opportunity present itself she would grab it.

She said there are plans in place to meet with her sub-chiefs to share the knowledge she acquired with them.

Since its creation in 1999, CEPIL has occupied and fulfilled a unique role. Two decades on, the Organization remains the only public interest law NGO working on extractive sector issues.

By: Mohammed Suleman/ Publicagenda.new

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