Wednesday, October 20, 2010

This is how it starts

Not very long ago, I wrote about Ghana's oil find and the dispute surrounding which company (ExxonMobil or Cnooc) the government should approve to acquire Kosmos' stake.

Bad news
This morning I rather heard very disturbing news again from Cape Three Point, one of the oil fields. A militant group calling itself CAPE MILITIA has already emerged.

Their mission
This group posing as the official mouthpiece of the unemployed youth in the area believe the majority of the proceeds from the oil should be used to develop the area first, before other parts of the country.

"You realize that already as the oil companies have started polluting our sea with toxic substances and the only way to demand justice is to resort to militancy because through their actions and inactions, the Kosmos group and the others are just like the usual multinational oil companies that do not factor local inhabitants in their scheme of operation," a group member told Today newspaper. 

The group also claims that resorting to militant action is the only way to mitigate these likely environmental hazards and other associated casualties that may befall residents. their actions will be geared toward.

Their strategy?
According to the leader, they hold their daily meetings at Agona Nkwanta, where they engage in the training and the use of fire arms at a village near the Ghana Rubber Estates Plantation at Nkwanta. 

The group leader disclosed that they have identified some pipelines under the seabed and will soon start attacking them and threatened to start targeting rig and non-oil facilities, like bridges, buildings belonging to oil companies in the area if they are not assured of equal opportunities.

One fisherman, Opanyin Mbere, was sure that his children had joined the group because they had seen and felt the atrocities meted out to them by the find of the Black Gold (oil). 

"Now when I go to sea I have no catch because all the fishes are attracted by the lights from the rigs; then we are told not to fish along the rigs, how should I feed my family, if the cause of my children can bring some hope, huh am in full support," Opanyin Mbere noted.

What do we do?
You know what I think?...I believe Opanyin Mbere is just one of the many people who has vividly described what they are going through. As much as these people do have a point, I absolutely condemn the resort to militant action. The fact is that the grievances of these people have been communicated to the government. We have all read about the Kosmos oil spill and other environmental issues. My question, and theirs I believe is "What has been done or what is being done?"

Look at the way British Petroleum (BP) was queried for the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Two lessons here: It did not take militant action to "correct this error", and the US government was there to protect the interest of its citizens. 

I hope one the militants is reading this, as well as a member of our government.

God help Ghana!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Helping Villagers in Ghana Gain Access to Clean Water

Today, October 15 2010 is Blog Action Day, specially dedicated to Water. I decided to draw attention to some good efforts by two organisations to help rural Ghanaians access safe drinking water. The first is Water for Ghana, an organisation committed to providing clean water to villagers.  According to the organisation, they help villagers in Ghana build their own source of clean water. "Right now, the only water they have is dirty. Adults and children alike use this dirty water to drink, cook with and bathe in. They often get sick as a result.", their website reports. So far they have provided water tanks for some villagers in the Wester and Eastern regions, notably from the Adenya, Grumisa, Dekoto and Adanse communities. Watch a compilation of videos and photos from the organisation.

I also took note of some efforts by a group of MIT students who have helped a researcher build a factory that could provide water filters for 1 million people in northern Ghana. The news article reports that, "In January, Susan Murcott, four students, a factory consultant and local workers spent one month building the factory, as well as the kilns and other manufacturing equipment. The construction also involved testing the production capabilities of the site to ensure that the filters could be produced through an unusual technique that Murcott learned a decade ago while researching household filters made in Nicaragua by nonprofit Potters for Peace." 
UNICEF reports that nearly 1 billion people do not have access to clean drinking water. The problem is particularly dire in Ghana, where diarrhea causes 25 percent of all deaths of children below the age of five each year.  In northern Ghana, the figure is even higher, where about half the population get its water from wells, ponds and streams that often contain disease-causing microorganisms. Part of the problem is that large, centralized water filtration and sanitation systems aren’t designed to reach remote areas like northern Ghana.
Hence we welcome the efforts of Susan and her colleagues who are doing this marvelous job of providing filters for the northern communities.
Again, today is Blog Action Day and as I leave you, remember that  you can help in your own small way by contributing via donations and volunteering to such laudable projects. 
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