Govt pays Gh¢10,000 to families of June 3 disaster victims

GOVERNMENT is to pay GH¢ 10,000 to each bereaved family of the June 3 disaster in which more than 150 died.

The National Coordinator of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), Brig, Gen. Francis Vib-Sanziri, who disclosed this yesterday when the Interior Ministry took its turn at the Meet-the-Press-Series in Accra, could not readily tell how many people had so far benefited from the package.

He said a number of the surviving victims have also been provided with relief items while some were yet to receive theirs.

He, however, expressed worry about the lukewarm attitude of some of the surviving victims who have still not registered saying their inability to do so was making it difficult for NADMO to have a complete database of the actual number of people who were affected in the disaster.

Addressing the media on a range of issues, the Interior Minister, Mark Owen Woyongo, said the five-member committee constituted to investigate the Kwame Nkrumah Circle Filling Station disaster had submitted its findings which was onwardly submitted to the President for further action.

He said a new bill seeking to make NADMO a better and realistic institution in the management of disasters and emergencies was before Cabinet for consideration.

On the Ghana Immigration Service, Mr. Woyongo said, a bill was before Cabinet to allow personnel of the Border Patrol Unit of the Service to use firearms in border patrol duties.

The move, he said, came in the wake of the increasing cross-border crimes including transportation of illicit drugs and light weapons to neighbouring countries.

Over the years, he said, the personnel had been patrolling the frontiers without weapons which was dangerous not only for their lives but to the country as well.

On the issuance of passport in Ghanaian missions abroad which was currently being handled by Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, the Minister said, the issue was being looked at as to whether it could be reverted for immigration personnel.

Mr. Woyongo said discussions were also underway to have representation of immigration personnel at the various missions as was the practice in the past.

Touching on the Prisons Service, the minister said, in the quest to decongest the prisons, 800 inmates had been moved from the Kumasi, Sunyani and the Nsawam Medium Security Prisons to the Ankaful Maximum Security Prisons and Farm Settlement Camps depending on the security level of the prisoner.

He said pre-legal units had also been set up to enable inmates have more access to legal aid so as to bring relief to prisoners who had over-stayed their remand period.

The Justice for All programme, he said, had dealt with 426 cases out of which 139 were granted bail, 53 were tried and convicted and11 discharged.

He said 18 inmates presented for the last Basic Education Certificate Examination, recorded 100 per cent pass, adding the government was assisting the Service to expand its classroom facilities among others.

On children who were mistakenly confined in adult cells, the Director-General of the Service, Ms. Matilda Baffour-Awuah, explained that it was not deliberate and that it was because sometimes, some of the inmates gave a wrong age.

However, she said, when that was brought to her attention, she also discussed it, with the sector minister and the appropriate agencies like the Gender, Children and Social Protection to reorient them into the juvenile cells.

 By Francis Asamoah Tuffour & Claud Adams

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