Ghana Gas Trouble Deepens

Tufuhene Awonyi (middle) flanked by some elders of the town

Tufuhene Awonyi (middle) flanked by some elders of the town

Tufuhene Awonyi (middle) flanked by some elders of the town

The problems affecting the completion of the gas project at Atuabo in the Western Region by the Ghana National Gas Company have worsened.

The chief and elders of Anokye, one of the catchment areas, have accused the company of breaching the terms agreed before the commencement of the project.

According to the elders of Anokye, the traditional rulers and the Ghana Gas company agreed that because the project was government-owned, the chief should release land for the project to take off.

It was also agreed that officials of the gas company would later meet with the chiefs for proper negotiations on the utilization of their lands.

They pointed out that even though the project is about to be completed, the inhabitants of Anokye, Atuabo and Asemdasuazo, do not know the plans of the gas company in relation to their welfare.

They stressed that they were angry because officials of Ghana Gas had allegedly refused to honour their invitation to negotiate on the use of their lands.

Addressing a press conference in Takoradi yesterday, the Tufuhene of Anokye, Robert Awonyi Mensah debunked the assertions by a section of Nzemas that the people of Anokye, Asemdasuazo and Atuabo do not like the project.

They have therefore thrown their weight behind the Omanhene of the Eastern Nzema Traditional area, Awulae Amihere Kpanyinli III, who had sought a court injunction to stop the execution of the project, which is expected to process 150 million Standard Cubic Feet of raw gas per day from the Jubilee Oilfield upon completion.

It would be recalled that a Sekondi High Court stopped the Ghana National Gas Company, SINOPEC and three others from carrying out their activities at Atuabo in Western Region.

The court slapped an interlocutory order on the firms restraining them from carrying out any activity on the land on which Ghana Gas operates until the company regularized its occupation with the Eastern Nzema Traditional Council in 14 days.

Justice Kofi Akrowia, who presided over the court, said he could not grant a permanent injunction applied by the Omanhene of the Eastern Nzema Traditional area, Awulae Amihere Kpanyinli III to restrain all work on the project until the case was determined.

The Omanhene strongly argued that the Ghana Gas company did not lawfully acquired land from the authority.

Mr Justice Akrowia warned that should the defendants fail to take advantage of the leeway offered by the court, the injunction would become permanent and the whole gas project would be stopped.

In an affidavit in support of the suit, Awulae Kpanyinli said none of the companies had lawfully acquired the land from the traditional authority, adding that Ghana Gas initially approached the council and presented drinks to indicate its preparedness to acquire the land.

Ghana Gas was incorporated in July 2011 with the responsibility to build, own and operate infrastructure required for the gathering, processing, transporting and marketing of natural gas in the country.

From Emmanuel Opoku, Takoradi

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