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5 June 2017 | Editorial

Gov’t Must Compensate June 3 Victims

Ghanaian Chronicle

Last Friday, a social group calling itself One Ghana Movement was launched, with the sole objective to advocate for justice for the people who were affected in the June 3 twin-disaster, which happened at the Goil filling station in Accra some two years ago.

A member of the group, Lawyer Samson Lardy Ayenini, speaking at the launch in Accra on Friday, said they are ready to ensure that the officials whose negligence led to the disaster are prosecuted.

“The pursuit of justice will not only result in fair compensation to victims and their families and punishment to those officials who are found culpable, but, even more, drive the sense of accountability and responsibility of citizens, corporate Ghana, and public officials….

“Citizens shall be emboldened not to allow their rights and privileges to be trampled upon, for public servants and politicians shall realise that they will be held accountable for their actions and must give their optimum. One Ghana shall provide both legal and advocacy services to victims and their families to realise the project's objectives,” he noted.

The Chronicle couldn't agree more with the group for standing up to support our brothers and sisters who were adversely affected in the natural disaster, which claimed and maimed the lives of the highest number of people in the history of this country.

Over 150 people lost their lives in the twin-disaster, which brought the country on its knees, and several others suffered one deformity or the other.

Additionally, most of the families of the over 150 victims, as well as those who suffered several injuries that fateful day, are yet to be fully compensated.

Leadership of the country, then led by President John Dramani Mahama, joined by others from around the world, fretted over their losses and promised to support them by way of compensation to reduce the burden of their grief.

However, two years on, nothing tangible has been done for the victims, except for the inerasable scares on their bodies that have become permanent reminders of the horrible experience.

It is, however, refreshing that the One Ghana Movement group has threatened a series of actions, including resorting to the court if need be, in order to get justice and compensation for the victims.

The Chronicle is poised to support the One Ghana Movement all the way to the end, to ensure that we get justice for our brothers and sisters who suffered irreparable damage to their lives, brains and bodies.

The attitudes of our governments in seeking justice for the ordinary Ghanaian has become a defect on the state's support calendar, which is giving credence to the hunch that governments intervene only when influential or high-ranking personalities are involved in a disaster.

The paper can state on authority that any time ordinary people are involved in a national catastrophe, it is the negligence of the people, the politicians will say, but when an important personality is involved, it becomes a national disaster.

For example, people perish through motor accidents at the Winneba junction along the Accra-Takoradi highway on a regular basis, but when some top Ghanaian neurologists from Korle-Bu died at the same spot in 2005, the country turned upside down.

That is not to suggest that The Chronicle did not grieve over the demise of the specialists, but the paper is concerned about the way we neglect the ordinary Ghanaian to fate.

We are appealing to the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo-led administration to put in place the necessary structures to ensure that in the next few months, all those affected in the twin-disaster, as well as those who suffered one deformity or the other, are adequately compensated.

Otherwise, we allow the wise saying which states that “A nation that does not reward its heroes is not worth dying for” to become a reality.

Ghana must learn to protect its people, and also make them feel an integral part of the country they believe in and adore.

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