Business News of Thursday, 10 December 2015
Government will protect all stakes in the salt industry in the Kpedzakope and Adina enclave South of the Volta region where violence would not be tolerated as a bargaining chip.
Madam Helen Adjoa Ntoso, Volta Regional Minister made this commitment when the Volta Regional Security Council (REGSEC) held meetings with the management of Kensington Industries Limited, a salt concessionaire in the area and the Kpedzakope community respectively.
On Wednesday December 2, 2015 a group of people vandalized an excavator and a truck of Kensington Industries Limited in which the Keta Divisional Commander was nearly killed with a cut at the back of his head.
Information indicated that the attack was triggered during a road construction being undertaken by Kensington Industries Limited in the Kpedzakope side of the concession during which the people alleged their heaps of salt and salt ponds were destroyed.
“We will surely do something about this, we will not tolerate lawlessness”, Ntoso assured the management of Kensington Limited and cautioned Chiefs from the area not to intervene on behalf of those to be found culpable.
A total of 15 people were said to have been arrested so far but indications were that the ring leaders have been on the loose.
The REGSEC also held a meeting with Togbe Addo VIII, Fiaga of Klikor who called on government to deal decisively with those to be found culpable.
He said chiefs in the area were against what happened and absolved communities in the area from the violence, pointing to some private interests who were against the company for dealing directly with the communities.
The Company with 7,000 hectares concession in the salt enclave and 200 metric tonnes a- day salt refinery has investments in salt industry in several African countries.
A Company source said 50 percent of its concession has been ceded to the Kpedzakope and Adina communities for salt winning with an assurance to upgrade local skills and ponds to enable them win more salt than they have been doing so far.
At Kpedzakope, Madam Ntoso impressed on the people that government would not tolerate violence as a means of drawing attention to their grievances and urged them to follow peaceful means of resolving those grievances.
“Live in peace with the investors because we won’t allow any investor to cheat our people. If they come legally let’s live in peace with them,” she implored.
Though they denied the community’s involvement in the attack, leaders of Kpedzakope apologized for what had happened and promised to live in peace with the company.
The leaders of Kpedzakope said the community required more than 300 metres which were ceded to its members because salt winning has been their mainstay from time immemorial.
They also lamented that the community risked being flooded in the rainy season because the flood waters from upstream would not be able to flow into the Lagoon at Adina because of the developments being undertaken by Kensington Industries Limited between Kpedzakope and Adina.