The Ada Traditional Council has warned political parties to stay clear off Ada Songor Lagoon development and allow indigenes to achieve the massive transformation of the Lagoon and the area in peace and harmony.
According to the Traditional Council, the activities of some emerging groups like the Ada Songor Lagoon Association (ASLA) are clear indication of political influence pushing them into doing things that undermine the traditional governance system in Ada.
“Evidence of such involvement is that the petition purported to be the position of Adali and presented at the demonstration was signed by a known political party propagandist and not chiefs who are the Traditional leaders.”
The Ada Traditional Council was reacting to issues surrounding the operations of the Songor Lagoon for Commercial Salt Mining by Electrochem Ghana Limited (EGL) and the demonstration by the so-called ASLA in Accra.
According to the Council, the group is becoming ungovernable and the use of threats and defiance cannot achieve results where negotiations, lobbying and other approaches could be employed.
Stating some facts right, the Traditional Council enumerated that the name ASLA which has become synonymous with opposition to the Chiefs and the Investor, was not in existence at the time of the grant of the mining license to EGL.
“The only recognized group who were into local salt production and operating under the name DESPA have been allocated a place for local salt production, known and called as DESPA area. That notwithstanding, the ATC believes in addressing the concerns and expectations of its entire people and have had various engagement with ASLA which includes some facilitations from the Tema Regional Police command.”
According to the statement released by the Traditional Council, they have to contend with the notion that the granting of the entire Lagoon to EGL by Government was creating a monopoly in the Production of Salt in Ada, averring that “We know that the Locals want more space and participation in salt production. If you have more one commercial producers with each of them requiring a substantial space for its production, how much space would be left for the locals? The ATC therefore holds the view that the arrangement that would allow more space for locals is a better option to having numerous operators.”
It said, the ATC had to engage with the Investor to agree to the Community Pans concept and under that plan, EGL is constructing Community pans for over thirty communities abutting the Lagoon at no cost to the communities and again has been providing free brine for local salt production.
“The only action required of these communities would be to harvest the salt which has been produced at no cost to them as of now, the areas where EGL is fully operational have had their Community Pans and actively mining salt therefrom and these communities include, Nakomkope, Adjumanikope and Agbedrafor. Those of Bonikope, Toflokpo and Kposem communities are at advanced stages of completion.”
It noted the roll out of these Community Pans would run in tandem with the expansion of EGL activities to all Communities and that they give opportunities to the Communities currently mining from their community Pans to tell their own stories.
It also mentioned that the gentle man agreement that the Traditional Council had with the investor, 12,423acrs of the total concession was agreed upon with the investor to operate for 50years and another 25years renewal.
“However, government in his own wisdom legally allocated the total 41000-acre concession to the investor for 15years. This came as a welcoming news to the Traditional Council that finally the entire Songor Lagoon will see a facelift that will transform into more direct and indirect job creation, increase in salt production and an increase in our royalty and grand rent that the Traditional Area receives and to achieve a total transformation of Ada.”
According to the Traditional Council, during their last multi-stakeholder’s engagement, which had Lands Commission, Office of the Administrator of Stool Lands, ASLA participation, ASLA pushed a position that EGL should allocate the local salt miners some areas and provide them with brine and be given a price for the production of salt as obtained in out-growers arrangement; and it was agreed that ASLA sends a proposal to EGL for consideration.
The Traditional Council however condemned ASLA for going to Accra to demonstrate whilst the Council was waiting for the out-growers model to be actualized.