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We want Songor salt project restored; we welcomed Electrochem Ltd – Ada youth

A youth group calling itself Progressive Youth of the Ada traditional area has called for the restoration of the Songor salt project because they believe its purpose is in their best interest.

At a press conference organized by the group, they indicated their readiness to partner any organisation to ensure that that the Songor salt project is effectively and efficiently utilised.

On Friday, 5 February 2021, at least six persons reportedly sustained several gunshot wounds in the Toflokpo and Salom communities in Adafor allegedly preventing Electrochem Ghana Limited from operating there.

According to sources in the community, a group of surveyors had come from Accra on Thursday to work on portions of land leased to the company by the Government of Ghana but were whisked away by the local youth.

The company is alleged to have transported land guards from Accra to ward off the indigenes from trespassing.

In the process, six persons sustained gunshot wounds.

The victims have since been receiving treatment at the Ada Hospital.

According to the group, “the Songor lagoon forms part of the land acquired in the Public interest and vested in Government by virtue of state land (Ada Songor Lagoon – Site for Salt Industry), Instrument 1974 (E.I 30), and later amended by Instrument 1975 (E.I 57).

“Ladies and gentlemen of the Press, part of this was leased to Vacuum Salt Products Ltd and Star Chemical Industries Ltd. We are reliably informed that, boundary disputes and winning rights brought about some disturbances. These disturbances led to some deaths which unfortunately involves the death of our Sister Margaret Kuwornu who was pregnant at the time. This is unfortunate and we pray that, such an incidence would never occur in our land again. This death led to the takeover of the Songor by the then Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) government”.

They continued: “Ladies and gentlemen, on April 24, 1992, The PNDC Law 287 was promulgated to set up the Salt Development Project Task Force (SDPTF) followed the caretaker committee and now Songor Salt Project to manage salt production in some part of the lagoon; i.e. The Ionian to be precise. The rest was in the hands of the indigenes. That has been the situation for all these years.

“The question now, ladies and gentlemen is, what has been the benefit to Ada and most especially the youth? This is a multimillion question, but the answer is nothing good to write home about. It was only a few that were benefiting whiles the majority of us, do not benefit (The birth of the popular Atsiakpo system in the Songor Lagoon)”.

The group, therefore, reiterated their readiness to partner investors interested in the poject. They also accepted the move by the CEO of Electrochem Ghana Ltd Dr. Daniel McKorley in November 2020 to develop a fully-fledged company to process the salt mineral.

“Ladies and gentlemen, it is based on this that we the youth are poised to partner our Progressive Traditional Leaders to see to it that, the Songor Lagoon is given to a hardworking development-oriented investor, who will not only be looking out for the money that will accrue from his investment in the Songor lagoon project, but will also take the development of the Ada area and its people especially the youth into consideration. We believe that the devil finds job for the idle hands. If the Songor lagoon is well developed which will lead to the opening of other jobs; eg. Chloe alkaline company which will also lead to the employment of all especially the teeming youth of the area, this will be welcoming news.

“On this note, ladies and gentlemen, the reconsideration of L.I 287 by parliament which gave opportunity to Dr. Daniel McKorley and his company Electrochem Ghana Ltd, to cut sod for the commencement of work in the Songor lagoon, to restore it to modern company in November 2020, was a step in the right direction and needed to be applauded. We the Youth, welcome Dr. Daniel McKorley and Electrochem Ghana Ltd with both hands to Ada and we shall support him and the company on all fours. We wish the company well,” the group further stated.

Read full statement below:

PRESS CONFERENCE BY PROGRESSIVE YOUTH OF THE ADA TRADITIONAL AREA

Ladies and gentlemen of the press, you are all welcome to this historic moment in the lives of the Youth of the Ada Traditional Area, who with their leaders will like to speak on the current issues of the Songor lagoon.

Ladies and gentlemen, before we proceed further, we would like to make it clear, that these youth you see here today, are non-aligned to any political grouping or motivated by any monetary gains to speak out on a sensitive issue that has the potential to make or unmake the state of Ada and most especially, the teeming youth whose future is uncertain.

Ladies and gentlemen of the press, our only alignment, is to the development of the state of Ada and its people. Most especially, the youth who are the future of the Ada State, but that future would be determined by the happenings of today. It will therefore be highly suicidal and very unfortunate if the youth of today will only sit and stare, and not getting involved.

At this juncture, ladies and gentlemen, we would like to pay homage to our progressive traditional leaders who through their toil and forward-thinking, today, the almighty Songor Lagoon is beginning to take shape that will lead to the benefit and progress of the entire Ada and the youth in particular. We are saying, “Neneme” and Naaname”, never allow anything to distract you. The youth your children are behind you. We want you to know that, whatever step you take in life, you will have to step on some portion of the earth which will either be smooth or rough. Whatever be the situation, you have taken a step. Ayekoo.

Brief History on Songor.

Traditionally, it is a known fact that the Songor lagoon had a strong attachment to one of the original four (4) clans of Ada; the Terkpebiawe clan. They have always led in the spiritual fortification of the lagoon. A position we believe no one will take from them. The other clans, Adibiawe, Lomobiawe, Dangmebiawe and the rest have all played a role in the protection of the Songor lagoon till date. If we are not mistaken, we know some wars were fought with other tribes just to protect the Songor lagoon, which all clans were involved. This means that, the concern of the Songor lagoon had been a concern for all Adas. It is therefore incumbent upon all Adas to once again come together, not to fight a war, but to see for the development of their cherished Songor lagoon.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Songor lagoon had been a source of fishing, salt mining, etc for the people of Ada. But, as we speak today, it is just a shadow of its past glory and something needed to be done. That is why we the youth are speaking today.

What Needed To Be Done

Ladies and gentlemen, the Songor lagoon forms part of the land acquired in the Public interest and vested in Government by virtue of state land (Ada Songor Lagoon – Site for Salt Industry), Instrument 1974 (E.I 30), and later amended by Instrument 1975 (E.I 57).

Ladies and gentlemen of the Press, part of this was leased to Vacuum Salt Products Ltd and Star Chemical Industries Ltd. We are reliably informed that, boundary disputes and winning rights brought about some disturbances. These disturbances led to some deaths which unfortunately involves the death of our Sister Margaret Kuwornu who was pregnant at the time. This is unfortunate and we pray that, such an incidence would never occur in our land again. This death led to the takeover of the Songor by the then Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) government.

Ladies and gentlemen, on April 24, 1992, The PNDC Law 287 was promulgated to set up the Salt Development Project Task Force (SDPTF) followed the caretaker committee and now Songor Salt Project to manage salt production in some part of the lagoon; i.e. The Ionian to be precise. The rest was in the hands of the indigenes. That has been the situation for all these years.

The question now, ladies and gentlemen is, what has been the benefit to Ada and most especially the youth? This is a multimillion question, but the answer is nothing good to write home about. It was only a few that were benefiting whiles the majority of us, do not benefit (The birth of the popular Atsiakpo system in the Songor Lagoon).

Ladies and gentlemen, it is based on this that we the youth are poised to partner our Progressive Traditional Leaders to see to it that, the Songor Lagoon is given to a hardworking development-oriented investor, who will not only be looking out for the money that will accrue from his investment in the Songor lagoon project, but will also take the development of the Ada area and its people especially the youth into consideration. We believe that the devil finds job for the idle hands. If the Songor lagoon is well developed which will lead to the opening of other jobs; eg. Chloe alkaline company which will also lead to the employment of all especially the teeming youth of the area, this will be welcoming news.

On this note, ladies and gentlemen, the reconsideration of L.I 287 by parliament which gave opportunity to Dr. Daniel McKorley and his company Electrochem Ghana Ltd, to cut sod for commencement of work in the Songor lagoon, to restore it to modern company in November, 2020, was a step in the right direction and needed to be applauded. We the Youth, welcome Dr. Daniel McKorley and Electrochem Ghana Ltd with both hands to Ada and we shall support him and the company on all fours. We wish the company well.

Concerns

Ladies and gentlemen, the ratification in parliament on Wednesday, 4th November, 2020 by the august house of parliament, granted the mineral rights to dig for, mine and produce salt in the agreement for a term period of 15 years, which upon expiration is subject to renewal under the mining laws of Ghana.

Of interest, ladies and gentlemen, the estimated national potential capacity of 2,330,000 metric tons, out of which the Ada area alone could produce about 1.4 million metric tons. In the ratified document, it was further noted that the actual production currently is about 330,000 metric tons leaving a variance of 2,000,000 metric tons.

Ladies and gentlemen, available documents clearly indicates that, the demand by ECOWAS sub-region alone is about 3million metric tons with Nigeria alone needing about 800,000 metric tons for its refinery industry. Ghana and for that matter the Ada enclave stands a good chance to take opportunity of this available market to develop its salt production to serve this market. The private sector needed all the support and encouragement from government to develop the sector. This has a huge potential for generating huge revenue for government for its developmental agenda.

What we stand to do as a people:

Should Songor salt be restored, the good people of Ada stand to gain a lot. i.e.

It will create a bigger capacity for salt production hence the realisation of the 1.4 million ton capacity as stated earlier.

Restore the land for inland fishing as it used to be in the past.

Revive the wetlands which served as habitat for migrating birds (A contribution to tourism in Ada).

Aside from these, Songor will also;

Create both direct and indirect employment which will engender development and improve the living conditions of the people.

Youth development through sports would also be realized through the development of Astroturf Football Pitches.

Scholarship to brilliant but needy students across the length and breadth of Ada will also be realized.

Provisions are also made for the construction of Modern Palace Complex with offices for the ten clans of Ada.

These are just a few of the benefits that the good people of Ada stand to gain aside employment.

Ladies and gentlemen, no progressive youth of any traditional area will stand and stare and let an opportunity like this slip away. The coming of Electrochem Ghana Limited to Ada, is God sent. That is the reason why, once again, the youth of Ada are arising. The youth want Ada to take advantage of this situation and lead the fight to restore the potential of Songor lagoon through Dr. Daniel McKorley and Electrochem Ghana Limited.

Ladies and gentlemen, we also thank the government of Ghana led by His Excellency Nana Adddo Danquah Akuffo Addo for listening to the cries of the Progressive people of Ada and granting them their heart desire. We are telling His Excellency Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo Addo that we the Youth of Ada have reached a stage in life where coming back is cowardice and going forward is perilous, but we must persevere.

In conclusion, we appeal to all Adas to see this project as a golden opportunity that has come to uplift the image of Ada and her people. We must do everything to make it succeed. We must eschew political insinuations which at the end, hurts nobody but ourselves.

Thank you all for coming.

Long live Songor Development

Long live Ada

Long live Ghana.

Source: Classfmonline.com

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