Tamale, Jan 14 (RADIO JUSTICE)-- The Northern Regional Police Commander, ACP Ephriam Oko Brakatu has advised communities affected by the Buipe-Blgatanga petroleum product pipeline project to remain calm as their demand is being met. He gave the advice when he visited the communities to assess the situation and have first hand information on the ground.
The Police Commander urged all stakeholders involved to restraint caution for a lasting consensus among them in order for the issue not to escalate into violence as is being experienced in other parts of the continent.
The affected communities namely Yipala, Chanpe, Japalpe, Zamzugu, Jabalpe, Kurubampe and surrounding communities in the Central Gonja of the Northern region have demanded that Bulk Oil Supply and Transport diverts (BOST) the direction of the project to at least 50 metres away from the dam in the area, which is their only source of drinking water or otherwise construct a new dam for them. These, the communities have demanded from BOST, before it continues with the project. They have warned that if BOST does not adhere to their concern they will have no option but not to allow the completion of the project. The people have threatened to resist any force against them.
A visit to the site by Radio Justice indicates that BOST has found itself between the deep blue sea and the Devil. The petroleum product pipeline project being executed by BOST is sandwiched by a pylon and the communities' dam. The BOST apparently finds itself in a dilemma as to whether to move towards the dam or the pylon. The communities have asked BOST to move the pipeline, to as they put it, '50 feet' away from the dam, saying they have future plan of widening it as the population of the area is increasing. Moving the project close to the pylon is also dangerous as a glitter of fire from cables on the pylon could spell doom for the country. But there seem to be a glimmering light at the end of the tunnel.
The Project Officer, Fred Ayarkwa in a telephone interview told Radio Justice that his outfit is considering the request made by the communities and would come out with the best solution by the close of the week. Meanwhile the assembly members of the various communities have met the Central Gonja district assembly over the issue and have been asked to leave the matter with the assembly. But the community members have still vow never to allow the continuation of the project till their grievance is addressed.
President Kufuor last November cut sod for the commencement of the project, which is expected to be completed in November this year. It is valued at 40-point-two million dollars, which is being financed by the Korean government with 38 million dollars and the rest by the government of Ghana.