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26.06.2008 Editorial

This agitation must be nipped in the bud

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Though Ghana is yet to start full-scale commercial production of oil, the people of Nzemaland, and their counterparts from Ahanta, are fighting over who has ownership of the actual geographical location of the oil find. Whereas statements from government and Kosmos Energy claim that the oil find is off the coast of Cape Three Points, the people of Nzema, including their Members of Parliament, are disputing the assertion.

The latter think the oil has been found in their area, and not as announced by the government.

The Chronicle views controversy as a very serious issue, which must be addressed as early as possible, by the government, before it degenerates into something nasty in the near future.

Ghanaians are witnesses to what is going on in the Niger Delta in Nigeria, where oil, which should have been a blessing to the nation, has rather turned out to be a curse.

Ghana must draw a lot of lessons from Nigeria, when we finally begin the production of oil.

Since our traditional authorities own the land but not the sea, it would be better if the government avoided naming the oil find after any town or village. The oil which has been found is in the sea, therefore it would be wrong for any chief, MP, or group of people, to claim that the place belonged to them.

Government must educate the people to understand that the oil has been found in the territorial waters of the country, and therefore belongs to the entire nation, and not any particular area in the country.

This would help to nip the current agitation in the bud, before people capitalize on the situation, to cause trouble in the future.

Both the Ahantas and Nzemas are from the same ethnic group, and it would be appalling if we allow this friction, between the two sister tribes, to fester into a bad situation, which could affect the entire nation.

Gold has been mined at Tarkwa, Obuasi and Prestea, among other places, since time immemorial, and the revenue from the mining activities has been equitably used to develop the whole of the country.

The Chronicle believes that when Ghana embarks on full-scale commercial production of oil from 2010, the revenue and wealth that will be accrued from it, will be equally distributed to benefit the whole of the country.

We are therefore at a loss as to why people should begin to fight over the area where the oil is going to be produced.

We must take a lesson from others, and realise that the country is one, and not divided among the various tribes or peoples.

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