The Municipal Chief Executive Officer of Ketu South Municipality in the Volta Region of Ghana, Hon. Maxwell Kofi Lugudor has stated on Fafaa 100.3 FM’s Social Intervention program dubbed “Duamenefa” on Thursday the 29th day of December, 2022, that the Ketu South Security Council (KSSC) has issued a Stop Work Order to the Seven Seas Company to Stop its operations within the Adafienu wetlands.
Hon. Lugudor also used the medium to speak to a press release issued by the Ketu South Municipal Security Council calling on citizens of Ketu South to stay away from fishing and all human activities within the Adafienu wetlands. Hon. Maxwell Kofi Lugudor used the opportunity during interrogations to clarify various allegations being peddled by the people of Ketu South through Fafaa FM against his person in this regard.
It would be recalled that on the 27th September, 2022, the people of Ketu South staged a peaceful demonstration to demand the closure of the operations of the Seven Seas Salt Company. They claimed the company dug “death traps” code named “killer dykes” by the demonstrators. They also claimed 16 precious lives were drowned in such unapproved concessions.
As at the time of the demonstration, six people out of the total number paid their death penalty through drowning in the “death trap ponds” allegedly constructed by the Seven Seas Salt Company within the unapproved concession.
These tragic deaths occurred in a space of less than one year during the reign of Hon. Maxwell Lugudor.
The deceased were:
- Atsu Drafor, drowned on the 27th May, 2022
- Kodzo Haligah, drowned on the 15th July, 2022
- Yawa Apenu Amewu, drowned on the 17th September, 2022
- Bridget Amewu, drowned on the 17th September, 2022
- Daddy Amewu, drowned on the 17th September, 2022
- Sitsofe Ahiawa, drowned on the 17th September, 2022
These tragedies have generated a lot controversies, ranging from allegations of accusations and counter accusations from the demonstrators and some stakeholders. These necessitated an independent investigation by Fafaa 100.3 FM and its associate NGO dubbed, the Duamenefa Foundation.
The three-month investigation, between September to December, 2022, led the radio station to interrogate relevant stakeholders including the MCE Hon. Lugudor and the Regional Minister Hon. Dr. Alchibald Yao Letsa.
Whiles Hon Lugudor claimed that his predecessor should be given an opportunity to speak to the issues, the Regional Minister on the other hand, claimed the company has secured all relevant documents to operate in all areas including the alleged unapproved concessions.
The former MCE, Hon. Elliot Agbenorwu, in response stated categorically that he issued a “STOP WORK” order to the Seven Seas Company to cease operating within the said unapproved areas; hence no life was lost during his four-year tenure of office, and that Fafaa FM should seek further clarifications from his successor Hon. Lugudor. But all attempts by Fafaa FM through phone calls and text messaging could not compel the incumbent MCE to clarify the allegations from his predecessor. The death traps remained unchecked and the company continues its operations. The agitations and accusations continued until the 26th day of December 2022 when another tragedy struck; the dead body of a 77- year- old woman was found drowned within the same death trap zone, making the seventh tragic death under the administration of Hon. Lugudor in a space of seven months.
To prove the veracity of the claims of the Regional Minister, Fafaa FM and Duamenefa Foundation pursued its investigations and findings on the floor of parliament where the Minister of State in Charge of Environment Science Technology and Innovation, Dr. Kwaku Afriyie in his response to questions filed by Hon. Dzudzorli Gakpey, MP for Keta Constituency, on whether the Seven Seas Company has secured an environmental permit to operate within its new expansions, the Minister of State confirmed that even though the Seven Seas Salt Company has applied for permit to operate within the Adafienu and its environs, “an environmental permit has not been granted by his outfit”; yet they have been operating to the detriment of the vulnerable.
In another development, Hon. Abla Dzifa Gomashie, MP for Ketu South Municipality, also filed a question to the Minister of Mines and Natural Resources for clarification on whether a concession has been granted to the Seven Seas Company within its new expansions. In response, Hon. Mireku Duker also responded to the Speaker of Parliament that, apart from the initial concessions granted at Adina, Agavedzi and Blekusu, the Adafienu and its environs is not yet granted a concession.
The clarifications of the two Ministers of State has vindicated Hon. Elliot Agbenorwu who issued a stop work order to the company and avoided tragic deaths during his tenure.
The question is why did Hon. Lugudor and Dr. Letsa fail to exercise their executive powers as Hon. Agbenorwu had done?
Why would the Regional Minister in company with the MCE claim the company has secured all documents to operate in its expansions in variance with the two Ministers of State.
All attempts by Fafaa FM to have response from Hon. Lugudor and Dr. Letsa could not yield the desire results.
Fafaa FM pursued its investigations and released an expository documentary to set the records straight.
Fafaa FM, through their Chief Executive Officer, forwarded the documentary to MCE Hon. Lugudor, and the Regional Minister, Hon. Dr. Achibald Yao Letsa on the 29th November, 2022. Both stakeholders acknowledged receipt of the documentary but failed to clarify the matters arising.
The two duty bearers failed to respond until the breaking news of the unfortunate tragedy on the 26th December, 2022.
The Chief Executive Officer, Emmanuel Ketaman Evortepe, again forwarded the message and pictures of the latest dead woman to the MCE and the Regional Minister, the CEO of Fafaa FM pleaded for an action to save other vulnerable citizens.
In response the MCE, Hon. Lugudor sent message to the CEO of Fafaa FM to assure him that he had summoned an emergency security meeting for briefing on the development and he will act accordingly.
The outcome of the security meeting led to the placement of a “ban” on the operations of the Seven Seas Company within the Adafienu areas of expansion.
The MCE was quizzed to clarify all pending allegations contained in the previous publications on the airwaves of Fafaa FM.
The three-hour program which airs between 11 am to 2 pm was dedicated to the MCE for clarifications. His response is expected to put to rest the fear and worry of the citizenry.
The CEO of Fafaa FM, Mr. Evortepe, while interacting with the MCE on Fafaa FM on 29th December, commended him and his security council for taking the needed action at long last. Hon. Lugudor in response assured Mr. Ketaman that he will extend the commendation to his security council.
Many people who called after the program expressed their appreciation to the MCE for taking the needed action at long last even though the delay has caused the loss of another life.
They also commended the relentless investigation and interventions of Fafaa FM which has finally compelled the duty bearers to take the needed action in the public interest.
Watch out for further development……….
Source: duamenafafoundation.org / New editor in chief