We at Ghana Environmental Advocacy Group, like many Ghanaians, have watched in horror the events of the last twenty-four hours that have resulted in the loss of many lives in Apiatsi, a village near Bogoso in the Western region of Ghana.
While accidents are not always preventable, the knowledge that this accident and the resulting explosion of the highly dangerous explosives that caused the countless injuries, deaths and devastation was entirely preventable leaves us dumbfounded.
It is common knowledge that our resource-rich communities continue to bear the brunt of unbridled exploitation, crippling neglect and underdevelopment. That they would also be at risk of such blatant disregard to our laws, specifically with respect to the transportation of dangerous goods is irresponsible at best. This gory accident presents so many questions that need urgent answers:
What is the requirement under our existing laws regarding the transportation of dangerous goods?
Were these laws enforced?
What safety protocols were deployed once the accident occurred?
What happens to the people of Apiatsi?
What immediate preventive measures are being put in place given that trucks filled with gas and other explosive cargo continue to ply our roads, many of which are in a deplorable state, especially in the Western Region, while dodging craters, aboboya and motor riders with no escort?
We call for a Parliamentary Committee to undertake a thorough review of the incident and the steps that the Government intends to take to ensure compliance with existing laws regarding the transportation of explosive devices and flammable materials in the country.
While we commiserate with our departed brothers and sisters from Apiatsi (Bogoso) and wish the injured speedy recovery, we also call on the Government of Ghana, the Ghana Police Service, all ancillary services and agencies in Ghana to get to the bottom of this disaster, bring fair and just punishment to all those involved in this mayhem and get us the needed answers.
Elizabeth Allua Vaah
For Ghana Environmental Advocacy Group