Member of Parliament for North Tongu constituency, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has said in other jurisdictions when disasters of the magnitude of Appiatse occur, authorities do not hurriedly set up a fundraising committee as has been done in the case of Ghana.
Instead, Mr Ablakwa said first, they establish an independent, impartial and credible enquiry to conduct thorough investigations.
The enquiry, he said, will then lead the state to identify the facts (particularly as in this case there are such varying contradictory accounts); the investigations will also determine if the companies involved have questions to answer; the conduct of policy makers, examine possible regulatory lapses on the part of the Minerals Commission, and the role of the security agencies would all come up for intense scrutiny by the enquiry panel.
He noted that “It is absolutely possible that when the independent enquiry is completed, there would be no need to raise funds from the general public or use scarce taxpayer resources to assist victims and for reconstructing Appiatse because the entities found out to be responsible would be made to bear the full cost of compensation and rehabilitation/resettlement.”
In a Facebook post, Mr Ablakwa noted that contrary to what pertains in other jurisdictions “here we are being served with an incestuous gobbledygook of the Minerals Commission asked to investigate itself as the security agencies are also requested to look into their own conduct.”
“We love to complicate what is rather straightforward. How long are we going to continue to burden the already stressed Ghanaian taxpayer while we allow the mighty and corporate giants who flout our laws to maximize personal profit get away with their blood-draping loot”? he quizzed.
According to the lawmaker, the other cardinal advantage of a comprehensive, independent, impartial and credible enquiry is the opportunity it affords to critically appraise the entire spectrum of importing, transporting, transacting and utilization of Ammonium nitrate and other explosive chemicals with the view to improving our collective safety.
He cautioned that the state should not take lightly the threat of terrorism “not only around us but in close proximity.”
Mr Ablakwa indicated in his post that “The explosive in issue is the most patronized by terrorists all over the world and it’s been so for many years — from the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, the 1998 East Africa US Embassy attacks in Kenya and Tanzania, 2003 Turkish bombings, all the way to the recent numerous violent extremist onslaughts carried out by Boko Haram and Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in Nigeria, Cameroon, Mali, Algeria, Niger, Togo, Burkina Faso and other places.”
He added “With the extent of international coverage the Appiatse explosion attracted and continues to attract, we must all be deeply worried that if we don’t compel our government to act appropriately, the international terrorist ring may just see a soft target in Ghana on how to have easy access to or intercept in transit the dreaded ammonium nitrate — God forbid, in the meantime, let’s stop the pathetic window dressing and act right in our strategic national interest. This cannot be the time to shield, duck or cover up — the death and injuries of so many must not be in vain.”
Mr Ablakwa’s statement comes after the government through the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel A. Jinapor, on Tuesday, 25 January 2022 launched an Appiatse Support Fund to raise funds to, among others, reconstruct the community.
The Appiatse Community, near Bogoso in the Western Region was razed by an explosion that occurred when a truck carrying explosives for mining exploded at the community on Thursday, 20th January 2022.
Thirteen people have been confirmed dead while many others suffered were injured.