The Managing Director of Citi FM/Citi TV Samuel Attah Mensah popularly known as Sammens says that the resettlement of communities affected by the controlled spill of the Akosombo Dam should not lie solely at the doorstep of the Volta River Authority (VRA) but rather both national and local authorities responsible for resettlement should take ownership of this. According to Sammens, the core mandate of the VRA is the management of the dam and its integrity.
“I don’t think it (resettlement) is a problem that lies at the doorstep of the VRA. The VRA’s mandate is to secure and manage the dam, that’s their foremost mandate. It comes with environmental responsibilities but I always say that the responsibility of enforcing our laws and regulations does not belong to the VRA,” Sammens said on Citi TV
He further explained: “The special duty of managing our spaces and settlements is not the duty of the VRA. There are local authorities, there are national institutions whose responsibility it is to manage settlements. As unfortunate as this situation is, I think it gives us a window to now go back and make a strong statement on where people can live and where people cannot live”.
Mr Atta Mensah made these comments when he participated in a discussion on the situation affecting the people of the lower Akosombo basin following the spilling of the dam. Sammens’ Citi FM/Citi TV have been at the forefront of the relief effort for persons affected by the spill; donating items, campaigning vigorously for more people to join the relief effort and helping to set up shelters.
Sammens’comments align with the VRA’s Emergency Preparedness Plan which identifies various stakeholders in times of emergency. They include The National Security Council, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Energy, and the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) at the National Level. The other stakeholders on the Regional and district levels are the Eastern Regional Coordinating Council, the Greater Accra Regional Coordinating Council, the Volta Regional Coordinating Council and all the Municipal and District Assemblies within the affected areas. Additionally, the chiefs and elders of the affected communities are consulted on the way forward.
All these stakeholders have a role to play in the decision to resettle the communities affected by the spill. It is therefore imperative that a consensus is reached by all before any resettlement is carried out.
The VRA following the spillage has continued to play a central role in distributing relief items to victims and also provided support to other governmental agencies on the field assisting with the situation. They have also provided technical support through water supply restoration, road construction and power restoration to make life a bit more comfortable for the affected victims.