The MPs being briefed by the police yesterday
Members of Parliament, including the Speaker, ‘abandoned’ proceedings yesterday on humanitarian grounds to visit some major disaster areas in Accra as a result of the heavy downpour on Wednesday.
The MPs were received warmly by the people of Nima when they first visited the main Nima gutter which became a receptacle for cars which had been swept away by the marauding floods. However, public anger was directed at the MPs when they visited the filling station at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle where many innocent Ghanaians were burnt to death by an explosion at the station. Thousands of people who had gathered at the scene at the time of the visit jeered and hooted at the MPs.
Before the Speaker announced that proceedings would be truncated to enable MPs and the leadership of Parliament visit the disaster areas to have firsthand knowledge of the extent of the destruction caused by Wednesday’s floods, the Majority Chief Whip, Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka, raised the issue of the deadly inferno at the filling station and the damage caused by the floods in Accra.
He expressed deep sorrow at the loss of the lives of innocent Ghanaians who had returned from work after contributing their quota to the development of the nation.
He noted that the flooding problem has been cyclical and that Parliament must assert its authority to ensure that the problem is solved once and for all.
He said technocrats who are responsible for ensuring that the right thing is done in the planning of the city must be held responsible.
The Minority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, said even though the disaster is a real national tragedy, the situation could have been avoided if people put in-charge had done the right thing.
“This disaster is self-inflicted and those responsible must be made to account for their negligence,” he said, stressing that this disaster must awaken people in authority.
He, however, said that the disaster at hand is a national emergency situation and that the government must be forced to release funds to hospitals where the injured had been sent for treatment so that health personnel can treat the people free of charge.
He also said it is important for Parliament to find a way of getting money from the Contingency Fund, which is a fund set aside for emergency situations, so that money could be released from the Fund to manage the current situation.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for Ablekuma South, Fritz Baffour, chastised successive governments and Parliament for failing to address the problem, noting that a similar situation occurred in 1995 but politicians have not learnt lessons from that.
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for Manso-Adubia, Yaw Frimpong Addo, attributed the floods to the construction of the overpass at Circle and the choked Odawna drain at Circle, saying that the contractors should have factored the rainy season into their plan of construction and focused on areas that would not have blocked free flow of running water at Circle.
“I can assure you that about 70 percent of this unfortunate disaster was as a result of the construction of the overpass at Circle and also the refusal of the AMA to desilt the choked Odawna drain at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle.”
The NDC MP for Daboya/Mankarigu, Nelson Abudu Baani, told DAILY GUIDE that he was saddened by the loss of lives and that all those city engineers and city planners who did not ensure that the right thing was done must be arrested and prosecuted.
“This is a sad day for Ghana and the government must declare two or three days of mourning for all Ghanaians who lost their lives through Wednesday’s flooding,” he added.
By Thomas Fosu Jnr
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