Chiefs in the Western Region must continue to play their vanguard roles in the developmental efforts for the survival, growth and development of the area, the Western Regional Minister, Mr. Paul Evans Aidoo, has stated.
He said:“Indeed, Western Region is a region of potentials and, therefore, has a greater role in the economic transformation and growth of the country. As a people, we need to recognise this role and take up the challenge”.
Mr. Aidoo made these remarks when he opened a retreat for 23 paramount chiefs from the Western Regional House of Chiefs here under the theme, “The role of traditional leaders in local development”.
Tracing the history of Ghana, he noted the contribution of chiefs in the colonial era and during the struggle for independence up to today, stressing that “our chiefs and elders constitute a centre for unity and cohesion”.
“If we want our local communities to be better than what we see today, all of us need to change our way of life. Our chiefs must endeavour at all times to pursue the agenda that would unite us and bring peace among the people. This will enable us to develop, since we cannot develop in the midst of anarchy and divisiveness. As we gather here for this retreat, I pray that Nananom will use the occasion to call for unity. Let us do away with things that are threats to our very survival and general wellbeing. I am referring to chieftaincy and lands dispute as examples,” he said.
Recognising the role of chiefs in decentralisation, Mr. Aidoo reminded the House about the importance of water in domestic, industrial commercial, hydro power, maritime, internal and international boundaries and agriculture fields, saying that, “the water we use must always be clean”.
He said the duty of safeguarding the water bodies from being polluted rested on all citizenry, and blamed community leaders for taking for granted natural resources.
“We are all guilty of how we take our natural resources for granted and recklessly destroy and pollute these indispensable resources. The dumping of rubbish into streams and rivers, though wrong, has become the acceptable norm in towns and villages and is causing pollution of our rivers and streams as well as the sea. A good example is the pollution of the Pra and Ankobra rivers through the activities of illegal gold mine popularly known as ‘galamsey,’ he said.”
The Regional Minister said the situation demanded a collective effort to reverse it and, therefore, appealed to the traditional leaders to be fully involved in changing the attitudes of the citizenry, by preaching against the bad practices and help safeguard the water resources.
He called for stringent measures to discourage the negative practices such as clearing and farming along river catchment areas, mining in rivers and dumping of waste into rivers.
“We need to be aware that the destruction of these catchment areas and of these water resources, not only increases the cost of treatment and consequently increased tariffs on water but also directly affect our health and threatens our future as a country,” he said
The Chief Executive of the Ghana Gas Company (GGC), Dr. George Sipa Yankey, told the chiefs that the project was expected to produce about 300 tonnes of gas out of the projected 500 tonnes of gas which could create both direct and indirect employment for about 1,000.
He said first class roads and water projects were ongoing and pleaded with the chiefs to partner with GGC, for the realisation of the dreams of the Atuabo gas project.
The Vice President of the Western Regional House of Chiefs, Nana Akwasi Agyeman 1X, expressed concern about illegal mining in the area and appealed to the minister and his team, to help check the menace.
From Clement Adzei Boye, Beyin