Friday, February 19, 2016

Residents of Anyaa School Junction in the Ga Central Municipality near Awoshie, a suburb of Accra, have raised red flags over the influx of filling stations in the area.

This, according to residents, could lead to another disaster if authorities do not take steps to stop the operations of these filling stations.

They have therefore issued an SOS to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS), the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) as well as the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovations and all bodies associated with issuing permits for the construction of commercial gas and fuel filling stations to ensure that they are not sited in residential areas, to come to their aid.

This follows the decision to site a gas/filling station in the locality, which poses a danger to residents.

A visit to the site recently confirmed that  two fuel filling stations- Excel Oil Company Limited and Strategic Energy Limited (SEL) – were situated in the middle of the residential area, with Glee Oil, another filling station, under construction on the same stretch.

The Environment, Science, Technology and Innovations Minister, Mahama Ayariga, recently ordered that all gas and filling stations in all residential areas be closed down following a gas station explosion at Dansoman in Accra.

However, this directive has not been adhered to by the EPA as it continues to grant licenses to petrol stations in residential areas.

The residents claimed that though the EPA had initially come round to prevent Excel Oil Company Limited from operating, they had allegedly falsified some documents that suggested that they (the residents) had given them permission to operate despite the risk the business poses to their lives.

They added that the EPA placed a 'stop work' notice at the construction site on September 16, 2015 but the warning was treated with contempt as work continued.

According to residents, Excel Oil Company Limited had been constructed directly on a waterway, which was likely to cause flooding in that area in the rainy season.

“The EPA shouldn't have given them permit and the GCMA shouldn't have also given them the building permit. They should have acquired a bigger plot somewhere that was not close to our residence. In case of any fire incident like what happened on June 3 last year, it will cause a lot of damage and even claim lives. We want the EPA and the other authorities to come out and tell us how those filling stations got their permits to operate because we feel where the filling stations are situated is unsafe,” a resident told the paper.

The tour of the area also revealed that the Excel Oil Company Limited was situated closely to a kenkey cooking house and two welding shops, even though these businesses depend heavily on naked flame for their operations.

NPA's regulation indicates that gas or fuel filling stations should be situated about 30.8 meters or 100 feet away from residential areas, but that was not the situation on the ground as the filling stations were less than 10 meters away from residences.

Another resident who appeared worried about the situation wondered how the EPA, GSA and NPA allowed the construction of filling stations in the midst of welding shops, houses, churches, shops, drinking spots, and banks among others.

She said their fear stemmed from the fact that most of the businesses operating around the filling stations used fire for their trades.

“How did these filling stations, especially Excel Oil Company Limited, secure permits to operate in a residential area and on a waterway close to a kenkey house and also surrounded by two welders? The authorities haven't learnt from what happened from the June 3 disaster that hit the country,” she added.

The issue of fuel and gas filling stations springing up in residential areas is currently an issue disturbing discerning Ghanaians. Some have said owners of these filling stations are top guns in the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC).

Excel Oil 

One of the pump attendants, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the manager had instructed them not to grant interviews or give out his number to any media house, said the filling station had secured all the necessary documentation and also had the backing of the residents to commence operations.

Glee Oil was also in the process of constructing a new fuel filling station just before the Excel Oil Company Limited.

However, various attempts to get the EPA to comment on the issue proved futile as appointments were ignored.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Nana Addo launching the book
Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), has observed that there had been several attempts in the past to deliberately wipe out the achievements of JB Danquah from the political history of Ghana.

He said the intolerant stance in the politics of Ghana that characterized the early years led to a deliberate attempt to wipe out the significant role played by JB Danquah and others.

Nana Addo, who was speaking in Accra at the launch of a book entitled, ‘Things Every Child of Ghana Should Know About Dr. JB Danquah,’ written by Abyna-Ansaa Adjei, said among the various achievements, Dr. Danquah did a research and came up with the idea of calling this country Ghana (hitherto known as The Gold Coast).

The launch of the 72-page book – edited by Elizabeth Ohene, a seasoned journalist – coincided with the 51st anniversary of the death of Dr. Joseph Boakye Danquah, known as the doyen of Ghana’s politics.

The book, which is the  10th by the author, tells the story of Dr. Danquah’s life from his childhood, his years of academic excellence as a student in the United Kingdom, through his political career as a freedom fighter and politician until his death in the Nsawam Medium Security Prison on February 4, 1965.

According to Nana Addo, the book brought back vivid memories of Dr. Danquah’s personality as a dynamic and charismatic individual who wrote profusely and was never shy of arguments.

He also disclosed that though the book is meant for children, adults would also learn a lot from it and gain a better insight and impression of JB Danquah’s achievements.

“Fifty-one years ago, JB Danquah died in the Nsawam Medium Security Prison under the most inconvenient conditions. So touting a figure was he that my proudest moment as a child was when he asked me to become Page-boy at his wedding to the love of his life, the beautiful Elizabeth of Sekondi. I am really astonished that Abyna has unearthed these pictures of me as a young child in this book which is meant for young children. This will be a remarkable testimony to our qualities of receipt because I never knew there was a record of that event,” Nana Akufo-Addo articulated.

He added that by researching and putting together the book, the author had taken the argument away from the life history of JB Danquah to unearthing so many unknown and unacknowledged facts about the man.

“The author backs up every statement about Danquah with evidence and does so in elegant simple prose,” he said.

The NPP standard bearer bought 1,000 copies of the book to be stocked in the various public libraries across the country.
Prof. Kumi Ansah-Koi, Political Science lecturer at the University of Ghana, Legon, reviewing the book, noted that the family of the late Dr JB Danquah are still victims of defamation and slander  due to the problem of mass ignorance and illiteracy .

He predicted that the book would go a long way to dispel the mass ignorance and illiteracy about Dr Danquah.

Abyna-Ansaa Adjei, the author, said she was inspired to write the book after she had been tasked to design the brochure for the 50th anniversary of Dr JB Danquah’s demise last year.

A good number of dignitaries and political bigwigs like Elizabeth Ohene, Freddie Blay, Ken Ofori-Atta, Alan Kyeremateng, Keli Gadzekpo,  Samuel Atta Akyea and Osafo-Maafo among others, turned up for the event.
Kufuor presenting a certificate to one of the scholars
Former President John Agyekum Kufuor has officially inaugurated the Kufuor Scholars Program (KSP) to provide specialized orientation through program mentorship, skills and experiential activities as well as annual stipends to young people in the tertiary level.

According to Mr Kufuor who is also the Chairman of the John Agyekum Kufuor (JAK)  Foundation, the KSP which was instituted  by JAK Foundation, was expected to produce leaders imbued with unwavering sense of patriotism; leaders who are innovative, problem solvers, creative thinkers and knowledgeable in their respective fields of endeavor.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony at the head office of the JAK foundation in Accra yesterday, Ex-President Kufuor said it had been his long cherished dream to nurture young people with ambition and leadership qualities.

“I am delighted because it has been my long cherished dream to nurture young people with ambition and leadership qualities, ready to assume the control of affairs of whatever industry they find themselves in.  This could be in politics, business, academia, sports, religion, culture, administration, health and technology among others,” he stated.

Over 500 applicants from tertiary institutions who were expected to have completed their first year course were screened by various intellectuals of high repute and great experience – independent of the foundation-. They were pruned to 50 and then to 20 and after another interview session 14 brilliant young applicants emerged.

Each of the 14 selected candidates would receive an annual stipend of GH¢10,000 for 3 years.

The former President urged the candidates to prove themselves worthy as missionaries and ambassadors to serve as the stems on which branches would grow for the good of the nation and the African continent.

“You will also have the opportunity to participate in programs of the foundation including seminars, lectures and direct interactions with renowned world leaders and achievers. This would be in the GH¢ 10,000 that would be paid to each of you annually for the 3 years that you enjoy the scholarship.”

Prof Baffour Agyeman-Duah, Chief Executive for the John Agyekum Kufuor (JAK) Foundation noted that the program would prepare the 14 candidates to become responsible and effective leaders in any position they find themselves in the future.

The event brought together a host of personalities like Erling S. Lorentzen, Prof. Audrey Gadzekpo, Dr Pascal Brenya, Henry Baye, Dr. Kwame Addo Kufuor,  Kwadjo Mpianim and Dr Mary Chinery Hesse among others.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Commercial drivers across the country have expressed frustration over the recent increase in insurance premiums, with some threatening to embark on a strike if nothing is done about the situation.

Charles Danso, Chairman of the Ghana Committed Drivers Association (GCDA), told Nii Ogbamey Tetteh that by the increment, commercial drivers were expected to pay GH¢357 for third party insurance, from a previous GH¢75, representing over 500 percent increase.

It would be recalled that in June, 2015, the GIA attempted to increase motor insurance premiums (third party) by 800 percent which was strongly rejected by Ghana Private Roads Transport Union (GPRTU) and GCDA, among other transport operation bodies.

Following negotiations between the Ministry of Transport, Road transport operators, the GIA and the National Insurance Commission (NIC), a mutually agreed incremental rate of between 240-260 percent was arrived at.

But the GIA earlier this year, increased the premium rate by over 500 percent.

“The recent percentage of increment in the insurance premium is more than 500 percent.  In fact the new insurance premium is affecting all commercial drivers and their car owners. This is not good, and is bad faith by the GIA,” Mr Danso said.

He said the various transport operators met with the GIA on Monday to kick-start the negotiation process but the GIA asked for some time to consult with the NIC and get back to them.

“We met them today and we are telling them to reduce it, the price is outrageous and we cannot bear it. We will be meeting with them in the middle of this week to conclude this matter. The insurance guys say they have to consult the National Insurance Commissioner herself so that they come back to the consultation table with them,” he added.
Mr. Danso stated that if the GIA decides not to reduce third-party insurance premium, the transport operators would embark on a nationwide strike to protest against the insensitivity on the part of the NIC and Ministry of Transport.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Prof. Akua Kuenyehia
Prof. Akua Kuenyehia, a retired judge of the International Criminal Court at The Hague in the Netherlands, says the peace in Ghana will be transient if the people do not work hard to reduce the level of corruption in the country.

According to the retired judge, Ghana needs to have low levels of corruption in order to attain sustainable peace.

Speaking at the maiden annual peace lecture of the Rotary Club of Accra-West, which is in collaboration with the Institute of Democratic Governance (IDEG) in Accra on Wednesday, Prof. Kuenyehia stated that corruption would destroy the nation if the citizenry fail to do something about it.

“Corruption is a canker that will destroy us as a nation if we don’t do anything about it. You can talk all the peace you want but if you don’t deal with corruption, you are not going to get any peace or the peace will only be transient.   As a nation, are we prepared to face corruption? For sustainable peace in this country, we need to have very low levels of corruption. When you have low levels of corruption then you have a chance of making progress,” she said.

She added that corruption was a serious issue that Ghana and Africa as a whole must handle carefully.

“How do we correct some of these things? Unless we correct some of these nitty-gritty things, the peace that we are looking for sustainable development will elude us, and are we ready to sit in the same place marking time while other countries make progress around us? I believe that these are very serious issues that we need to look at,”   the President of MountCrest University College said.

She however added that despite the corruption that has engulfed the country, Ghana was an oasis of peace in the mist of turmoil in the sub-region and the African continent as a whole.

Prof. Kuenyehia also indicated that peace was one of the factors that attract investors into the country, adding that anything that would disturb the peace of a country would affect its economy as well.
She urged Ghanaians to work hard to minimize factors that could inflame passions and spark violence in the upcoming elections slated for November 7.

“This is an election year and therefore the mantra is peace, we should avoid election violence or anything that will disturb the peace of this country.  I believe with the current economic conditions and lack of transparency in most cases, we should be very careful touting how peaceful we are and as we move towards the election month of November, each of us has an obligation to make sure that we try and minimize some of these factors that heighten disagreements. If you don’t do that, this is the kind of thing that could easier trigger violence,” she stated.

Meanwhile, Amos Amankwah, Rotarian President of the Accra-West Rotary Club, has said that the peace lecture would become a reference point on the Ghanaian calendar to serve as a reminder for individuals.

The event brought together various personalities including former First Lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, Eva Lokko, former PPP running mate, Prof Atukwei Okai, Vitus Azeem, Hackman Owusu Agyemang, La Mantse Nii Kpobi Tettey Tsuru III and Lt Col Eric Aggrey Quarshie, of Ghana Armed Forces PR Directorate, among others.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Agnes Emefa Essah (middle) presenting the prize to the winners
Vodafone Ghana has presented prizes to the winners of senior high schools of the Vodafone Icons High School Edition.

The winning school, Accra Academy Senior High School, was presented with music studio with a complete band set, laptops with audio editing software for music production.

Speaking during the presentation in Accra recently, Agnes Emefa Essah, chief marketing officer at Vodafone Ghana, stated that Accra Academy would also be given the opportunity to attend the High School Musical Global Concert that is coming off in Turkey.

The each member of the five-man band will also get a one-year scholarship package from Vodafone.

“Last year, we decided that we will go to the senior high school (SHS) and were we amazed. We found such wonderful talent that I’m still reliving every single moment and this is an area that we are going to continue to push into this coming year as well.

You hear about us saying ‘Power To You’ and when we say power to you we mean we want to encourage you for you develop and find out what your potential is. Icons is one of the routes we have been using,” she said.

The five remaining schools, including Osei Tutu Senior High School (SHS), Adisadel College, Presec, among others, also received PA systems, shopping vouchers, mobile phones, tablets, Vodafone souvenirs and hampers as consolation prizes.

She commended the Ghana Education Service and the heads at the various schools for their commitment and direction which led to a very successful debut of the Vodafone Icons High School Edition.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

(from left) Constant Gladzah and Dr Daanaa
Minister for Chieftaincy and Traditional Affairs, Dr Henry Seidu Daanaa has called on   aggrieved royals and chiefs to settle chieftaincy disputes in courts to avoid violence.

According to him, the best way to resolve disputes in chieftaincy issues was to refer them to the Regional House and Chiefs, the National House of Chiefs or even the High Courts.

“What the ministry will like to urge is that we are in a modern democratic system and the way forward is having cases resolved judicially. Indeed those who feel aggrieved about natural justice or any other rules of justice can even go to the High Court but let us not use any other means,” Dr Daanaa admonished in an interaction with the media on Monday in Accra.

Statistics from the Ministry indicates that the Ashanti Regional House of Chiefs had 39 cases pending before it. Brong Ahafo had 50 cases; Central Regional, 39; Eastern 13; Greater Accra, 10; Northern Region, 7; Upper East, 8; Upper West, 13; Volta, 31; Western, 42 and National House of Chiefs 103.

It could be recalled that renewed chieftaincy violence had erupted at Bunkprugu in the Bunkprugu-Yunyoo district of the Northern Region, claiming about three lives.

Commenting on the issue, Dr. Daanaa urged the judicial council of the Northern Regional House of Chiefs to act quickly to give judgment on the Bunkprugu case to avoid further clashes.

In related development, Dr Daanaa said a Codification of Lines of Succession project was currently before parliament waiting to be passed, adding that “this would help us reduce the number of litigations and the number of people who come in to claim chieftaincy.”

He asserted that Ghana would have been free from the nasty situation of Chieftaincy disputes and violence if the country had all the Legislative Instruments (LI) on the various stools.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Prof Kofi Anyidoho
Prof Kofi Anyidoho, professor of Literature at the Department of English, University of Ghana, Legon, says government, should, as a matter of urgency, declare Dr Ephraim Amu’s house and everything in it as national monument.

According to the renowned poet, though the timeless works of Dr Ephraim Amu live on, his house and everything in it need to be preserved by the state.

Prof Anyidoho, who was speaking at this year’s Ephraim Amu Memorial Lecture on Thursday in Accra, said the government should also work together with the family of Dr Amu to establish a concert hall as a fitting memorial.

The lecture traced the life of Dr Amu as a music composer, Christian educator, social educator, a craftsman and farmer. He is the composer of the national anthem in the various Ghanaian languages, and can be credited with over 25 songs in Twi.

“His house is in pretty good shape but I saw the condition in which the car that took him around this country for decades, it doesn’t speak well of us. I saw his grand piano. Elsewhere, it would have already been declared priceless and people would be offering millions for it.  I think this country needs to do something about it.  While we work towards building a concert hall as a fitting memorial for Dr Amu, I think his house should as soon as possible be declared a national monument and whatever is in it, be preserved,” he stated.

Prof Anyidoho added that Dr Amu’s works left behind an indelible mark with his rich understanding of tradition blended with rhythmic flow of Ghanaian languages.

He disclosed that the greatest tragedy the African culture has faced is the loss of languages, which, in effect, makes it difficult for people to trace their roots.

Prof Anyidoho continued that Dr Amu was a perfect example of an African who cherished and propagated his works through the local languages.

“That is why Amu’s example is important. Like Amu, he composed various songs in the various Ghanaian languages like Twi, Ewe and Ga. He was not a Ga or Akan but was able to do most of his songs in those languages. Do you know for instance that many of our people who go to the hospital cannot tell the doctor what is wrong with them unless the doctor happens to come from the part of the country where they come from. So people are literally dying because of this,” the renowned professor mentioned.

He disclosed that to reclaim ourselves from colonial domination, Africans need to identify their heritage through their names and languages.

“This is a major problem and as Dr Amu said in his ‘Asemyi Di Ka’ song, the solution starts from me and you. I am a creative writer, I write poetry and for a long time I was writing only in English until I got the depth of one of Amu’s songs –something needs to be done about this but who is to do it? Every one of us is waiting for somebody to do it. But, in Amu’s song he says it should start from me. In a very long while, I write my poems in our local languages,” he noted.

The event which was blended with musical interludes from the archives of Dr Ephraim Amu works was heavily attended by various dignitaries like Prof Atukwei Okai, General Anyidoho, Prof Kwabena Nketia, among others.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Prof Edmund Dele
The Convention People’s Party (CPP) has made some three key amendments to its constitution at its delegates’ congress held at the weekend, where it ruled out any political alliance with the larger opposition parties.

The amendments, which were instigated by the National Executive Committee (NEC) before the National Delegates’ Congress at the International Trade Fair Centre in Accra, were fully accepted by the delegates.

As part of the amendments, for a member to be eligible to contest the position of a flagbearer, that person should be members of good standing in the party for five years and should have also held positions in the political grouping.

Previously, presidential aspirants should have served for four years before becoming eligible for the position.

The delegates also amended Articles 78 and 88 of the CPP constitution which allow for a separate event to be organized to elect the party’s national youth organizer, stating that the position shall be elected at the National Delegates’ Congress along with other high profile positions such as the presidential candidate.

The third amendment sought to endorse the merger with other Nkrumahist parties like the Peoples’ National Convention (PNC) and the Progressive People’s Party (PPP).


Prof Edmund Dele, National Chairman of the party,  added that deliberations on the unity process would be closed by April this year.

“We are prepared as a party to accommodate our brothers and sisters who belong to other Nkrumahist parties, in particular the PNC and the PPP. I’m happy to announce that the NEC has approved that we can go on with deliberations on this unity process and as long as they are prepared to listen to us, we would close our doors by April because CPP, well organized, should be able to go on its own. I don’t think we are prepared to keep on talking about the merger for three or four months,” Prof Dele stated.

No Alliance

He disclosed that the CPP would not form an alliance with the New Patriotic Party (NPP) or the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in this year’s elections slated for November 7.

“We are not under any circumstances going to tie our fortunes with any party again; we are not prepared to suffer again…..,” he averred.

About Me

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I am a Creative Arts Writer who is also into Strategic Communications, Public Relations, Photography and IT consultancy. I am also Social media enthusiast and an alumni of the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ).


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