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05.09.2002 General News

Criminals vandalise Wa Airstrip

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Criminals operating in the dark have vandalised facilities of the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) at Wa, and the cost of damage runs into millions of cedis.

Property damaged included the cutting of several square metres of the chain link fencing of the air strip, and the building meant to house equipment of the authority was completely looted of its louver blades and roofing sheets.

As a result of the massive destruction of the fence, the runway which was constructed and tarred two years ago at a cost of about 14 billion cedis and is second only to that of the Kotoka International Airport in length, had become a playground for domestic animals.

These were made known when a six-member team of officials from the GCAA headquarters inspected the airstrip on Wednesday to assess the extent of damage.

During the inspection, it was discovered that openings created by the destruction of the link fencing had become access routes to the farms of people living close to the facility, while the land around had been encroached upon.

At a durbar of chiefs, opinion leaders and people of communities around the airstrip to sensitise them, the Wa District Chief Executive, Mr Godfred Bayong Tangu urged them to show keen interest in the security of the airstrip because if would benefit them.

He said the assembly and the GCAA on their part would provide security lights to brighten the area.

The durbar was organised by the GCAA in collaboration with the Wa District Assembly.

It was also made known by residents close to the area that soccer fans scale the fence of the airstrip to shorten their access to the Wa Sport Stadium.

Mr William Orhin, Director of Audit of the GCAA who led the team, said only few regions in the country had such a facility and the people should endeavour to take proper care of it.

According to him, it was the vision of his organisation to eventually develop it into an airport to create jobs for the people.

He said loitering of animals and humans on the runway, which had been made possible by the destruction of the fencing, would pose risks to aircraft.

Mr Orhin mentioned some of the other benefits that would accrue to the people in the eventual development of the airstrip to the standard of an airport to include, medical evacuations, transportation of relief items and defence purposes.

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