DISTRICT CHIEF EXECUTIVE ( DCE) of the South Tongu District Assembly in the Volta Region, Mr Seth Kwasi Agbi has offered a vivid explanation on how his outfit is still keeping the relief items in the stores at the Assembly.
According to Mr Agbi, the Assembly is keeping many relief items donated by individuals and corporate institutions in its custody because the Assembly didn't have enough money to finance the onward distributions of the items to the affected people in the Akosombo Dam spillage disaster who are living in many areas within the Lower Volta Basin in the district.
The DCE who doubles as the Chairman of South Tongu District Security Committe (DISEC) expressed worry about the heartbreaking development, adding that although the items were safe in the custody of the Assembly, it has not served it purpose and that the Assembly needs money to distribute them to the victims.
Mr Agbi revealed that he personal consulted the Volta River Authority (VRA) and National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) to give the Assembly financial support to distribute the items to the affected people in the Akosombo dam’s spillage disaster but these state institutions are yet to respond to his request.
He stressed the urgent need for the VRA and NADMO to swiftly come to the aid of the Assembly by way of giving financial support to rent cars to distribute the relief items to the people who have been affected by the damage caused by the Akosombo dam’s spillage.
"In the Assembly we have more relief items there. But l want state that we cannot be blamed for the delay in the distribution of the items to the beneficiary people because we don't have enough money to fuel the cars to distribute the items to the people. We need money to carry the items to them. This is the fact because l cannot hide anything from you.
"As at today l received only GH¢2000.00 and that this money is being used to send some items to the affected people but there are still items keeping there in the Assembly which we money to send to the victims.
"...that is the reason why the people were still hungry due to the financial problem that the Assembly is having to rent cars to send the items to them," the visibly worried DCE was heard speaking in a video which has gone viral in the social and traditional media platforms.
The DCE further emphasized that the Assembly needs financial support to be able to rent or fuel the cars to send the items to the affected victims of the damage caused by the spillage of the Akosombo Dam.
Meanwhile a researcher of Development Studies at the SOAS University of London and author of Living in the Shadows of the Large Dams, Professor Dzodzi Tsikata, has stated that the Volta River Authority (VRA) must take full responsibility for the damage caused by the spillage of the Akosombo Dam.
Professor Tsikata argues that the VRA cannot absolve itself of blame for the damage caused by the dam’s spillage, which has affected many areas within the Lower Volta Basin.
The VRA commenced the controlled water spillage from the Akosombo and Kpong Dams on September 15, 2023, due to a consistent rise in the inflow pattern and water level of the Akosombo reservoir.
Thousands of residents in South Tongu, North Tongu, Central Tongu, Asuogyaman, and several other areas have had their homes submerged due to the spillage.
“Even if people move to higher grounds, they cannot move immovable property. So VRA must take responsibility for all the buildings that have been destroyed because you cannot claim that people should have moved their immovable properties to higher grounds. If our own state agencies give permits to build in these places, it will be very difficult for the VRA and the government to evade legal responsibility for the damage people have suffered,” Professor Tsikata stressed.
Prof. Tsikata further added that “dam builders and managers are legally responsible for all the effects of their actions and inactions on the river basin, and the VRA is a state agency, so the government also has a legal responsibility.
"It is important not to make a false choice between the right to protect a national resource and the right to protect lives and property. You cannot choose between them. The legal position is that you are responsible for the lives and property that are affected in your efforts to protect a national asset that you have placed in a certain neighbourhood. This has to be clearly understood.”