An environmental mining and human rights advocacy organization, WACAM, has called on the government to set up an emergency coordinating unit within communities with high extractive and industrial activities to respond to emergencies.
The Unit would be trained and equipped with proper equipment and resources to appropriately respond to emergencies in their jurisdictions as it would help prevent extensive loss of lives and property when such accidents occur.
This call was made by an associate professor at the University Of Cape Coast, Dr Emmanuel Yamoah Tenkorang, during the presentation of the WACAM report on the Appiatse explosion in Accra yesterday.
The report dubbed “The Appiatse explosion disaster in Ghana: An analysis of the situation a year on,” sought to provide an eyewitness perspective of the events, government’s relief efforts and recommendations for the aversion of similar accidents in the future.
Dr Tenkorang added that, the enforcing agencies must ensure that all sectors of the economy, especially the mining and support service, followed all regulations and legal requirement in undertaking any operations.
He further called for the review of the Legal Instrument (LI) 2177 to include “a provision for strict liability for a company that failed to adhere to the provisions of the regulations resulting in an explosion that caused injuries to people such as the case of Appiatse.”
The Minerals and Mining (Explosives) Regulations, 2012 (L.I. 2177) covers the administration, certification, licencing and allocation of permits, packaging, reporting, manufacturing, transporting and storage of explosives.
He added that the LI should also include procedures upon which persons injured as a result of an explosion could claim compensation or initiate legal action.
Narrating her ordeal, Cecilia Abban, a victim of the Appiatse explosion, revealed that although it’s been a year, the accident had left members of the community with shocks that would forever stay with them.
She called on the government to punish all persons responsible for the accident.
She commended the government for their continuous support after the accident and urged all Ghanaians to continuously assist the displaced members of the community with various forms of relief items.
The Executive Director of WACAM, Mr Daniel Owusu-Koranteng, in his remarks underscored the need for government to review the mining regulations as it would ensure that all persons who flaunt the mining laws in the country were properly dealt with.
He expressed worry over the government’s inability to disclose the content of the Appiatse fact-finding committee saying that, the issues of public safety were of great importance and required public discussions.
“We should ensure that the Appiatse explosion is not treated as one of the serious occurrences relating to public safety in our country that are met with heightened enthusiasm but easily die off with time,” he emphasised.
BY JESSEL LARTEY THERSON-COFIE