OccupyGhana has called on government to establish a constitutional commission of inquiry into the Akosombo Dam spillage that has rendered thousands of residents in the Lower Volta Basin homeless. In a press release, the pressure group said the gravity of this situation cannot be overstated and the explanations provided by officials are far from satisfactory. “It strains belief that the rapid increase in water volume at the Dam caught us completely off guard, leaving us with no alternative but a massive, destructive spillage,” parts of the statement read. “And it is also alarming to even consider the scale of devastation that could have occurred had the Dam faced complete failure, as tragically witnessed in Derna, Libya, resulting in the reported loss of over 11,000 precious lives,” OccupyGhana noted. They noted that spillages from other dams including Burnkina Faso’s Bagri Dam and others pose risks to the people. The CSO also questioned whether the water constantly spilt is being harnessed wisely and whether Ghana has structures that ensure the optimum utilisation of the vast amounts of water that leave the Akosombo and Kpong/Akuse Dams. This is especially in terms of whether this precious resource could provide more clean drinking water and also support irrigation, rather than flowing into the sea, the group added. “OccupyGhana firmly believes that the totality of these matters rises to meet the constitutional standard of a ‘matter of public interest [and importance]’ that is sufficiently grave to warrant establishing a Commission of Inquiry, as provided for under Chapter 23 of the Constitution.”
“We earnestly urge the President or Parliament (through a resolution), to take immediate steps to form this Commission. Ghanaians have a right to know the precise cause(s) of this catastrophe and whether it was preventable,” They added. OccupyGhana indicated that should the commission find that the Akosombo Dam disaster could have been prevented, those responsible should be held accountable, which may include their removal from their positions. Also, if there are indications of criminal acts or negligence, OccupyGhana expects an independent police investigation leading to prosecutions. “And if it was indeed an unforeseeable event, this experience has made it foreseeable, and we need to know and understand the measures to be put in place to prevent such a disaster in the future,” they added.
On September 15, the Volta River Authority commenced the spilling of excess water due to rising levels of the Akosombo and Kpong hydro dams.
Weeks after the spillage started, many residents living along the Lower Volta Basin have lost their homes and farms to the floods caused by the spillage. Currently, nine districts find themselves reeling under the fury of the racing spillage, with the inhabitants caught up in this humanitarian crisis. Heart-wrenching tales have emerged from the South, Central, and North Tongu districts of the Volta Region, where the devastation knows no bounds. The once vibrant communities of Battor, Tefle, Mepe, Sogakope, Adidome, and Anlo have been submerged, their existence nearly swallowed by the unrelenting waters. Over 26,000 people according to the National Disaster Management Organisation (NaDMO) have been displaced and rendered homeless. Some institutions and individuals have since presented relief items to residents. President Akufo-Addo and Vice President Dr Mahama Bawumia and other political figures have also visited the communities. The leadership of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the Minority caucus has also extended a helping hand to the victims. Also, the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service has assured the affected residents of the Akosombo Dam spillage that his outfit is working to ensure they are provided with the needed healthcare services.