FISHERMEN at Kpone on Wednesday, embarked on a demonstration with the view to destooling their chief fisherman, Nii Tetteh Ashong II, whom they accused of not doing much to improve the condition of fisher folks in the area for the past 15 years.
About 60 fishermen, clad in red, marched to the beach, led by the chief priest, to pour libation before handing the petition over to the Co-ordinating Director of the Kpone- Katamanso District Assembly, Mohammed Yakubu, who received it on behalf of the chief executive.
A five-page petition signed by the secretary to the fishermen, John Nortey, copied to the Ministries of Chieftaincy and Culture, Fisheries and Aquaculture, Development, the Greater Accra Regional Minister, the Kpone Traditional Council, the Kpone Obodua, the Kpone Paramount Chief and the 10 clan houses of Kpone, called for his immediate replacement.
The petition alleged that soon after the chief fisherman was enstooled, he made the fishermen to contribute GH¢20 each to facilitate the continuous supply of premix fuel, but several appeals to him to account for the money had proved futile.
“We realise his term of office as the chief fisherman has not witnessed any development in terms of safety measures or facilities along the beach to help rescue fishermen in case of disaster or damage at sea. He ignored his duty as chief fisherman and rather concentrated on selling lands at the traditional council,” the petition stated.
It said the fishermen were aware that the government had been providing fishing gear to them through the chief fisherman, but they had never been beneficiaries of those items.
The petition said when the fishermen invited the chief fisherman to a meeting at his family house on April 14, he refused to sit down to address the issues confronting them under the excuse that he was attending a meeting in Accra.
When contacted, Nii Tetteh Ashong II, denied all the allegations levelled against him.
He said he never collected GH¢20 each from the fisher folks under the pretext of going to influence officials at the Premix Secretariat.
Nii Ashong explained that premix fuel was given to premix committees at landing beaches on credit, and after selling the fuel, the cost was paid back to the secretariat.
He explained that based on a formula outlined by government, 53 per cent of the profit on the premix fuel was given to the community, 12 per cent went to the chief fisherman, 18 per cent given to other representatives on the committee, and while the pump assistant got seven per cent.
Nii Ashong said he was duly installed as a traditional ruler in one of the 10 clan houses of Kpone (Nii Dun We) and Woleiatse (chief fisherman) of Kpone in 1992 and gazetted by the National House of Chiefs and, therefore, if any group of people had any complaints against him, they should follow the proper procedure for destoolment by forwarding their complaints to the Kpone Traditional Council for them to be investigated.
Nii Ashong II also denied diverting any equipment allocated by the government to the Kpone Community. He said when outboard motors were allocated to the community, he convened a meeting among the fishermen, fish mongers and canoe owners so that those interested to buy them could be identified and directed to pay for collection of the items.
He said about two months ago, government allocated 230 outboard motors for fishermen from Accra to Ada out of which Kpone was given five.
Nii Ashong II said at a meeting convened for the purpose, five people had given out their names but they were yet to pay and collect the equipment.
He also denied abandoning his duties as a chief fisherman and engaging himself in the sale of lands.
According to him, he was a member of the Lands Allocation Committee of the Kpone Tradtional Council and as such, whenever there was the need to meet to deliberate on issues and allocation of lands to prospective developers, he was expected to be there.
From Godfred Blay Gibbah,Kpone