The Bagre Dam which was constructed in 1992 at Bagre a village in Burkina Faso with huge economic potentials to the good people of that country, continues to cause a lot of perineal havoc in some villages, Districts, and Regions of Ghana.
The Northern belt including Bawku West, Nabdam, to parts of Northern and North East, pays a heavy price from the spillage. One area that has always been at the center of the discussion is the Kobore bridge which connects the Bawku West District to the Bawku municipality. The bridge and parts of the Bolga – Bawku roads are always submerged whenever there is spillage from the Bagre dam, thereby making it difficult for commuters and transport operators to crossed to and fro from Bawku to Bolga through Zebilla.
The yearly loss of life, properties, and farm produce since the construction of the Bagre dam and constant spillage is disheartening. The current situation has let to portions of the roads near the Kobore bridge to leaving many transport operators and passengers stranded. The situation is even dire as passengers traveling to neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger through Bakwu are equally stranded.
The devastating impacts on farmers and village settlers are becoming unbearable, as the stand aloof and look helpless, with their farm produce and animals been carried away by the running water. The scenes currently at the site have been long queues of passenger and goods vehicles far away from the bridge. The alternative to access Bawku Municipality from South or any parts such as Tamale, Bolga, Zebilla is to pass through Nalerigu Gambaga en route to Bawku, with exorbitant transport fare.
It would be more revealing to make an in-depth analysis of the socio-economic effects of the Bagre dam spillage. If we take a cursory look at the annual ritual of the spillage and its effects one can wonder the rate of devastation since 1992. For instance, let say every year we lose about 10 people; for 28 years now we can say the life lost only could be about 280 people and counting. This is highly unacceptable. The cost of destructions of farm produces, housing, farm animals and other valuables cannot be overemphasis. Focusing on the loss of life, the Ghanaian government has done lips service in investing in interventions that would make it more efficient to contain or easily manage the spillage from the Bagre dam. For almost three decades one would pounder why there is less commitment from our government to addressing this perennial disaster?
Although, the current government has cut the sod for the construction of the Pwalungu Multi-purpose dam to help in containing the spillage of the dam, the politics, and reference of government similar initiatives such as the mockery 1 village one dam policy makes the project interventions highly questionable. Though it is a refreshing intervention; a change in government could further defeat the interventions since there is no commitment from the other party. The timing of such a proposal by the government could just be a hoax to secure more votes from the good people of the Upper East Region.
We cannot continue to watch helpless and allow our people to die from the spillage of the Bagre Dam. We must as a country demonstrate commitment in allocating more money to addressing the issues of the spillage havoc. We have buried 100s of people since the yearly experience of the spillage, and for that matter, the lives of our people must be prioritized. We must hold the government more accountable and the need to fix the Bolga- Bawku- Pulmakom road and the execution of the Pwalungu Multi-Purpose to contained excess water from the Bagre Dam spillage. This must be of topmost demand and priority to the good people of the affected Region in gauging political parties’ commitment going into the election 2020.
If the government of Burkina Faso a fourth world country could implement such a multi-million-dollar project, a middle-income country like Ghana cannot have an excuse in carrying out a similar or more advance multi-purpose dam project. We have failed the current generation and as we preach sustainable development, let strive to salvage the future generation by correcting the wrongs of today.
In the meantime, we must continue to adhere to early warning signs from NADMO, the Media, and allied agencies that are responsible for raising the RED alert to warn of transport operators, farmers, and village settlers along the banks of the river. We must all get involved to minimize the risk of the havoc.
Author; Tahiru Lukman
Youth Activist, Dev’t Consultant & Pan- African Author
Email: [email protected]
Tel: 0209154057 / 0551018778