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NEWS
 
NZEMA LANDS FOR EQUITY, NOT FOR SALE

From Godfrey Nyamey, Half- Assini

The Chiefs and people of the Western Nzema Traditional area in the Jomoro District have resolved not to sell any of their lands to companies and individuals who may want to operate in the area because of the oil find.
Speaking on behalf of the chiefs and people, Awulae Annor Adjaye III, Omanhene of the area, said instead of the selling of the lands, they would rather be used as equities in such companies to share in their profits.
He was speaking at the Jubilee Field Phase One Development public hearing at Half-Assini on Monday. The public hearing was organised by the Western Regional Office of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to enlighten the people on the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) document on the oil find.
Awulae Adjaye said the success or otherwise of the oil exploration did not lie in the preparation of nice documents but effective monitoring of the contents of the documents.
He said although EIA documents were prepared for the mining companies, “the rivers are polluted and lands degraded to the disadvantage of the people.” He therefore urged officials of EPA to ensure that the companies complied with the rules.
Awulae Adjaye regretted that the EPA and Tullow Oil Company had never invited the chiefs and people of Jomoro to the many fora they had held in the region for stakeholders. He appealed to the media to lend their support to marginalized communities whose living conditions might be affected by the oil exploration.
Awulae Annor Adjaye, however, gave the assurance that the chiefs and people of Jomoro would do everything possible to ensure that the oil find becomes a “blessing and not a curse.”
The District Chief Executive for Jomoro, Victor Nyianyi Kablan, called for proper demarcation and identification of the location of the oil find since it is nearer Effasu in the Jomoro District than Cape Three Points.
He therefore pointed out that the claim that the oil-find was at West Cape Three Points was a “fallacy”.
He requested that the error be rectified without any further delay to set the records straight. Mr. Kablan said a copy of the EIA document was made available to the district assembly only a few days ago for the hearing and therefore the assembly could not study it thoroughly.
However, he said, people in the district world ensure the peaceful and successful exploitation of the oil.
The people called for the upgrading of the Half-Assini Police Station to a district headquarters and resourced with more personnel and logistics to be able to curb the crime wave that might emerge as a result of influx of people to the area.
They also called for the provision of a Fire-Service Station as well as to offer employment to the youth from the area. The people requested that the oil companies site some of their activities in the area instead of restricting them to Sekondi-Takoradi and Shama. They also demanded that students in the area be offered scholarships.
Mr. Kofi Essuon, Governmental International Relation Manager of Tullow Oil Company, addressed all the concerns of the people and assured them that companies that would be operating in the area would be made to comply with the dictates of the EIA document besides fulfilling their social responsibilities to the people.

Source: The Ghanaian Times
www.newtimesonline.com