Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Monday, June 08, 2015
Two powerful institutions have waded into last Wednesday, June 3 devastating floods cum fire outbreak that killed about 200 people in Accra.
The Ghana Bar Association (GBA) and the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference both issued separate statements lamenting the lack of proper planning coupled with indiscipline that is accounting for some of the disasters.
The GBA statement was jointly signed by Nene A. Amegatcher, President and Justin A. Amenuvor, Secretary while the Bishop’s statement was signed by Most Rev. Joseph Osei-Bonsu, Bishop of Konongo-Mampong and President of the Conference.
The GBA called for speedy investigations into the tragic incident saying “It is the view of the GBA that the problem of indiscipline and sanitation should be dealt with as a matter of urgency and without further delay.”
They said “The GBA would wish to take this opportunity to call for a comprehensive and non-partisan approach to tackling and resolving the problems.”
The association said it was time for government to stop paying “lip service to the hackneyed phrase of ‘building strong institution’, the law must be allowed to work,’ et cetera”
It called on the judiciary, MMDAs “to ruthlessly apply the law; the NCCE in conjunction with the ISD to constantly sensitize and educate the populace on matters relating to sanitation; Parliament to review the laws on building and the environmental and non-partisan approach encourage the Executive and the Judiciary to do the needful to remove all offending structures in waterways especially in towns and cities.
On the part of the Bishops, said “We think that as a nation, we have not done well over the years with our long-term planning in our response to the perennial flooding in Accra and other parts of Ghana.”
“Time without number, our capital city has suffered the ignominy of being inundated with floods leaving in its wake massive destruction of property and human casualties. For all this time, what we have witnessed is government officials and ministers visiting flood scenes to commiserate with victims and to make long and empty promises to fix the situation,” they said.
The Bishops also added that “Year in and year out, the same situation keeps recurring without any concrete practical steps being taken to address it holistically. This latest incident should be a wake-up call for us to be up and doing and not only pay lip service to the phenomenon of flooding in Ghana.”
“Much has been said about planning and we dare say that Accra and other cities of our dear nation needs re-planning. Town and City Planning authorities need to be up and doing.
They said “We think that building permits should not be given to people to build houses on water courses. Those who flout such building regulations must be dealt with according to the law.”
“Every Ghanaian must be ready to learn and accept the fact that when we flout our laws, we will all one day inevitably face the consequences of such an act.”
The institutions both expressed their condolences to the bereaved.