The Ramsar sites located within the Tema Metropolitan, Tema West Municipal, Ablekuma West Municipal and the Weija-Gbawe Municipal assemblies have been declared security zones. The Greater Accra Regional Security Council (REGSEC) has consequently taken over the security of the Ramsar sites with immediate effect. A statement issued by the REGSEC yesterday said it had “noted with great concern the impunity with which some Ghanaians and foreigners were carelessly building in all Ramsar sites within the region, which was causing serious flooding, posing threats to the city and its dwellers. It said the decision was taken at a REGSEC emergency meeting yesterday “in line with its mandate as stipulated in the Security and Intelligence Agencies Act, 2020 (Act 1030), which, among other things, indicates that REGSEC should take immediate steps to ensure law and order”. The decision comes after it emerged that the once beautiful Sakumo Lagoon and Densu Delta (Weija) Ramsar sites are being encroached upon by developers, despite attempts by both the local government authorities and the Greater Accra Regional Coordinating Council to stop individuals and estate developers from using the lands for construction.
Despite attempts by both the local government authorities and the Greater Accra Regional Coordinating Council to stop individuals and estate developers from using the Sakumo Lagoon and Densu Delta (Weija) Ramsar sites for construction, developers continue to encroach upon the sites with impunity. Encroachers, said to be influential persons with political clout, continue to encroach on the wetlands around the Sakumo Ramsar site despite the Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA), TDC Ghana Limited and the Greater Accra Regional Security Council (REGSEC) ordering developers to halt construction in the Ramsar site and to produce permits or face sanctions. A similar defiant posture at the Weija Ramsar site has seen continuous construction works in the area, with the two situations compelling the Regional Minister designate, Daniel Titus-Glover, leading a team from the Greater Accra REGSEC on a tour of the Ramsar sites last Thursday and Friday.
New buildings
At the two separate sites, he issued a new directive to all developers to halt developments along the Sakumo Lagoon, near Tema, and the Pambros area at Weija. Mr Titus-Glover, who was accompanied by officers from the TMA, visited communities 12, 11, 10, 6, 5 and 3, portions of which are covered by the Sakumo Ramsar site, and came face to face with new buildings springing up on the periphery of the lagoon, with the watercourse filled with sand. Stating his disappointment with the developments, Mr Titus-Glover directed the REGSEC taskforce to erect and inscribe notices on structures to warn developers to halt construction and produce permits before they would be allowed to proceed with the construction.
Reckless abuse
After the tour, Mr Titus-Glover described the continuing development and construction at the Ramsar site as a reckless abuse which posed a threat to human lives and pointed out that the REGSEC would not sit unconcerned.
Daniel Titus-Glover (hands akimbo), Greater Accra Regional Minister designate, and some members of the REGSEC during the tour of the Sakumo Ramsar site
“We need to protect what is left of the Ramsar site,” he said, adding that the REGSEC would evaluate the processes commenced under the tenure of the former Regional Minister, Henry Quartey, by putting in place measures to regularise the building after an inventory by the REGSEC. The Sakumo Ramsar site consists of a buffer, transition and core land. The buffer and transition zones have all been encroached on, and out of the over 1,200 acres of the core lands, more than half of them have been encroached upon, while the remaining have been filled with sand awaiting further development. Asked if demolition of structures would be carried out, especially among those within the core zone, Mr Titus-Glover said any such decision would have to be taken only after the REGSEC had met.
Densu Delta
At Weija, Mr Titus-Glover toured the MacCarthy Salvation and Dansoman areas. During the visit, it was discovered that the places had been heavily encroached upon, with developers putting up structures that were at various stages of completion. He expressed concern that the filling of the Ramsar site had resulted in the destruction of property and the loss of lives, as water that should have ended there rather went into the homes of people. Also, he ordered persons who had encroached on the Densu Delta Ramsar site and were developing the area behind Pambros to immediately put a halt to their activities. He said security personnel would be deployed to the site to turn back any truck that attempted to dump laterite. He said the place was a holding area for rainwater, and thus, needed to be protected, and that nobody had title to the site. "I have told them that no filling should go on. We will arrange with the assembly to put up notices around, and we will make sure we look for all those who are involved," he emphasised.