Communities around the Songor Lagoon in the Ada West District of the Greater Accra Region of Ghana bemoan the constant brutalities and molestation they are subjected to, an unpleasant situation that conjures memories of the 1985 tragedy which claimed the life of a young lady.
The residents are frequently harassed by the Police and thugs believed to be affiliated with Electrochem amidst shooting for ordinarily protecting their centuries’ sole source of livelihood. The disturbing developments are reminiscent of an unforgettable occurrence that remains traumatic in the minds of many.
On that black Friday, May 17, 1985, 25 years old pregnant lady, Margaret Kuwornu, was hit to death at home by a stray bullet fired by the Police from Songor Lagoon following a misunderstanding between communities and one Apenteng over the takeover of the lagoon.
The late former President, Jerry John Rawlings, swiftly intervened and ensure calm in communities around the lagoon, and subsequently took interest in the case which was adjudicated at the International Court of Justice in favour of the people of Ada.
The Mineral Resource has since then been at the disposal of the people of Ada and the entire Ghana, as the government took charge of only three percent of the total land size known as the Songor Salt Project which has been in harmony with the indigenes for decades.
The unpleasant situation resurfaced a year and a half ago since Electrochem owned by Daniel McCaully took over virtually the entire lagoon in contravention of a section of the International court’s ruling and the master plan of the lagoon formulated by a Cuban International Cuban Mineral Consultancy firm and Inter-Ministerial Committee. It states among others that the Songor Lagoon CANNOT be given to one individual entity, with the interest of the locals at the centre of this decision.
However, about 50 inhabitants have been shot by Police personnel and thugs of Electrochem since the arbitrary takeover, resulting in one Agbenyefia losing his life with several others battling ill-health for carrying pellets in their bodies.
Not only are residents unable to access salt winning which has been their major livelihood means over several centuries, but Electrochem has also through its activities blocked natural waterways that channel the large volume of water from Larteh in the Eastern Region, Battor-Aveyimeh areas through into the Songor Lagoon which serves as a sponge for tens of communities around the lagoon. This results in flooding of communities at the least rain-destroying properties.
In what residents describe dubious lease agreement, some communities have been earmarked for relocation, a factor that contributes to the objection by the indigenes.
Residents in commemorating the tragic death of their beloved one 37 years back, Chiefs and people of Bornikorpe and Toflokpo had invoked the spirit of Margaret Kuwornu to fight the injustice they are currently faced with.
They are therefore calling on the President and Minerals Commission as well as the international community to intervene to stop the inhumane suffering in the hands of Ghana Police Service and thugs of Electrochem aided by the Police.
Several indigenes currently find it difficult to put food on the tables for their children and cater for their school needs thereby further impoverishing them.