The Ghana Environmental Advocacy Group (GEAG), in collaboration with the Nzema Advocacy for Peace Building and the Petroleum Hub Committee, has raised concerns over the Petroleum Hub Development Project, being implemented inJomoro Municipality of the Western Region.
This followed a review of documentation by the group, regarding the proposed project, at the Bonyere enclave.
The worries were in a statement signed on behalf of the group by the Convenor, Madam Elizabeth AlluaVaah, referred to the Board Chairman of the Petroleum Hub Development Corporation (PHDC), and Omanhene of Western Nzema Traditional Council (WNTC) AwulaeAnnorAdje, copied to other stakeholders.
The group complained that the 20,000 acres of land earmarked for the project was overly large compared to other land sizes around the globe.
The GEAG said the ‘loss of land and rivers’ would prevent the people of farming and fishing activities, adding that land and water bodies were affected by spillage and petrochemical effluences and gases.
The group also identified the lack of framework for relocation and resettlement of affected households and towns.
It expressed concern about the lack of details on financial settlement and compensationfor landowners as well as “loss of generational benefits use and value of the land.”
The GEAG said the lifetime and generational health impacts on the people must be considered and earmarked financial benefits and royalties to Nzemamanle from generated revenue established at $15 billion to Ghana.
The group, however, lamented the little involvement and consultation with the people of Nzema, who would be directly impacted, as there was no sign of training skills development for local people to take part in the petrochemical industry.
The GEAG recommended that the land size for the petroleum hub enclave be scaled down to 5,000 acres and there should be developmentof a framework for the release of hub lands only if required by establishing major milestones and substantial completion of hub facilities.
It suggested the formation of a broad-based association of representatives from affected communities of Nzema descent with various backgrounds to liaise with AwulaeAdjeand JomoroMunicipality in seeking a long-term plan.
The GEAG also called for the establishment of environmental controls, measures against petrochemical spillages, effluents and harmful gases, framework for relocation communities and resettlement of people and households, establishment of fair and equitable financial settlement and compensation schemes for displaced landowners, farmers and fishermen.
The group called for the establishment of a generational benefit scheme for government-acquired farmlands, fishing and water bodies to be released to original landowners if the project is halted or suspended.
It has urged the PHDC to initiate an informed development plan that would seamlessly integrate the petroleum hub enclave with towns and villages without any comparative degradation of utility capacity.
The group requested the formulation of skills and technical manpower development programme for the people of Nzema before the completion of the second phase of the project. – GNA