We need peace to develop Songorsalt not combat -Chiefs
The Chiefs and people of Toflokpo, Salom, Bornikopey and other nearby communities of the Songor Salt Lagoon in Ada have reiterated that they are determined to fight for their birth-rights by not relinquishing their main source of livelihood to any private company that would fail to engage them.
The aggrieved communities around the Songor Salt Project, at a press conference held over the weekend, said the area has just few opportunities from salt mining, fishing and peasant farming, therefore, it will be difficult to give any of these away for private occupation.
They further added that since there are limited opportunities, especially in areas surrounding the Songor Lagoon, the few available complement each other during lean seasons
They complaint follows a 15-year contract lease awarded to Electro Chem Ghana Limited by the government to mine the over 39, 000 acres Songor Salt Lagoon.
Although the Ada West District Assembly had responded that the purpose of the contract is for operational and redevelopment of the Songor salt Project into a viable resource, custodian of the Songor lagoon, Numo Amate Apedo Ayornu holds a different view.
According to him, if the contract was meant for the good of the indigenes, why would they fail to consult them, and also take combat action against the very people they want to serve their interests?
He said not too long ago, 15 indigenes of Madegbe, a community near the Songor Salt Lagoon, were brutalised and shot by some security officers believed to be working with the Assembly.
Numo Amate ApedoAyornu expressing his angry over the alleged shooting incident added that a 15 year old girl was also hit by a stray bullet while standing at the front of her house, and yet no justice has been served.
He said chiefs who are supporting the project at the expense of the people must bow their heads in shame and remined them that “the Ada Traditional Council has no legal standing to deal with any property belonging to the Tekpebiawe Family clan,” and any undertaking with the company can be deem illegal. This is to say the Ada Traditional Council does not own the Songor Salt resource, but only holds it in trust of a clan.
According to him, the protracted troubles which have lasted for over 40 years with attempt by various governments and parties to forcefully acquire the Songor Lagoon and adjoining lands for salt mining and related activities can only end if the true owners are consulted extensively for their approval.
He added: “We fought Appenteng for 20 years; we shall fight McDan until the last of the 100,000 Adali-Abime living along the Songor Lagoon today are killed.”
Numo Amate Apedo Ayornu, therefore, called on the government to cancel the three lease agreements granted to Electro Chem Gh. Ltd. for peace to prevail in Ada.
The Chief of Toflokpo, Nene Mayiru, on his part, said the people will do everything possible to stop the company from working on the land if they fail to follow the due process expected.
Nene Dadeborm Anim II, Chief of Salom, and the Chief of Bonikopey, Nene Dameh Borni, on their part, also alleged that the police have not instituted any investigations into the matter, neither have they visited the victims who were shot.