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The Member of Parliament (MP) for the North Tongu constituency, in the Volta Region, has served notice they will go to every length to seek resettlement and compensation packages for victims of the Akosombo Dam spillage, with latest figures of the victims being now over 31,000.
Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, whose constituency is said to be the hardest hit of the disaster, indicated that aside from announcement by the Minority side to file a motion for independent parliamentary inquiry, a team of lawyers are standing by to initiate court action against the Volta River Authority (VRA), in the event that it fails to pay compensation.
He said the VRA officials, whose actions and inactions resorted to this calamity, must be made to pay for their incompetence.
According to the MP, this time, it is not going to be business as usual for the authority, which says it has earmarked some GH₵20million for the disaster and it is on course, as far as the spillage is concerned.
“Again, let me say that I am disappointed that VRA is talking about only relief items and 20 million. We are talking about resettlement and compensation. VRA should be told in clear language that they will not be allowed to get away with this. We demand full compensation, we have already booked our lawyers on standby. We will bring class action if we do not hear of a comprehensive plan to compensate all of my victims, all of these Ghanaians who do not deserve.
“We are filing a motion, yesterday the Minority Leader announced it in Sogakope, when they came to do their presentation. We will be filing a motion demanding an independent parliamentary inquiry into this whole affair so these are matters we are not going to take the VRA word for it,” he said on Joy FM’s NewsFileprogramme on Saturday October 21.
The MP, who has already called for a state of emergency to be declared for bilateral assistance, said, “We can’t continue to pay this prize, this is a sacrifice we have to carry it so that all of us can have electricity, the entire country can be powered, we can industrialize, we can transform our society but a few of us cannot continue after giving up their lands and not be fully compensated.”
“We continue to suffer these floods in this manner and VRA people think it is nice, it is predictable, it is going according to their plan and all those things they are saying. So, we are demanding an urgent engineering solutions. We believe that modern engineering will allow this excess water to be rechanneled and be used for something else [like] irrigation agriculture and other useful things,” he added.
Meanwhile, others, including the Member of Parliament for the Asante-Akim North constituency in the Ashanti Region, Andy Kwame Appiah-Kubi, and the former General Secretary of the Christian Council, Rev. Dr. Kwabena Opuni-Frimpong, have separately reacted to what some have described as a “man-made” disaster.
In the view of the NPP MP, who, together with some of his constituents who have lost vast farms to the flood, said it is possible the disaster was caused by engineering failure.
“We need to criminalize professional negligence, people who have caused this mess, they may be sleeping somewhere else, they may even be profiteering from this. Let us bring people back to punish them,” he said on the ‘Key Points’ on TV3 Saturday, October 21.
The lawmaker further stated that the lack of technological intervention caused the flood that has rendered thousands homeless other properties destroyed.
“I see this as engineering failure rather than a calamity,” Mr. Appiah-Kubi, who has lost 200 acres of rice farm due to the flood, said on TV3’s Key Points programme.
He added that, “The absence of technological intervention that is causing this problem. Why have we ignored all the technical and engineering warnings? If there were expected overflows, we needed to harvest that for reuse.”
On his part, Rev. Dr. Kwabena Opuni-Frimpong said consultants for the Akosombo dam spillage must be made to answer for the extent of devastation.
Rev. Dr. Opuni-Frimpong, in an interview with Citi News, said: “We need to find out who were the consultants who did the feasibility studies and which impacts were they expecting for this spillage.”
He added, “And I believe some people must accept responsibility for what people are going through at the moment in parts of Ghana. We need to let people take responsibility for their actions. We cannot let this pass.”
The VRA commenced the controlled water spillage from the Akosombo and Kpongdams on September 15, 2023, due to a consistent rise in the inflow pattern and water level of the Akosombo reservoir.
But, unfortunately, thousands of residents in South Tongu, North Tongu, Central Tongu, Asuogyaman and several other areas, have had their homes submerged due to the spillage.
Morgues, cemeteries and toilet facilities have all been submerged posing a serious public health problem in the affected regions, namely portions of the Greater Accra, Eastern and Volta regions.