9 Communities Sue Ghana Gas Company

The Centre for Public Interest Law (CEPIL), a non- profit human rights organization, says it has provided free legal assistance to nine communities in the Western Region, to institute legal action against the Ghana Gas Company over the destruction of their farms, land and other property without adequately compensating them.

Consequently, the company is to appear before the Secondi High Court to answer questions pertaining to the charges.

Mr. Augustine Niber, Executive Director of CEPIL made this known to journalists in Accra on Wednesday, at the launch of a report on Western Corridor Gas Infrastructure Project titled: ‘An Overview of the Western Corridor Gas Infrastructure Development Project Phase1 and its Impacts on Local Communities’.

He said though CEPIL supported projects aimed at generating more power to address the deficit and increasing daily demand by Ghanaians, industry and businesses, such projects should not be executed at the disadvantage of the people.

The report made recommendations to the government and the gas company on the possible ways of compensating the people, touched on six thematic areas namely, health and safety, local content and community impacts, governance, access to justice, compensation and consultation.

It was undertaken by CEPIL and funded by STAR-Ghana, a multi donor funding organisation that encourages increased accountability and responsiveness of government, traditional authorities and private enterprises to Ghanaian citizens.

Mr. Niber said the gas project had brought untold hardships to the people, whose land and property were sacrificed for the project.

He said since the project began, more than 60 per cent of the affected people and their dependants   were in extreme poverty, a development he indicated as the failure on the part of the authorities to facilitate process for the payment of compensation.

He said the report also gathered incidents of violation of the people’s human rights contrary to the provisions of the Constitution.

He said in some instances where properties including buildings were demolished, compensation was not given based on valuation and consent but at the wish of the gas company.

Recommending measures to ensure victims were given appropriate compensation, he said the government should educate the people about the compensation and their rights, as well as amend relevant legislation to ensure that resettlement rights are guaranteed in cases where people lose lands that served as sources of income.

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