The Chiefs and people of Vea and its environs in the Bongo District have called on the government to construct a bridge over the Vea Irrigation Dam spillway, which has been flooded since the beginning of the rainy season and preventing people from accessing the road.
They said if the government failed to construct the Bridge by the end of the year, the residents would do so in January 2024, according to the design and standard they could afford.
“We are Ghanaians, and we are entitled to the rights enshrined in the 1992 Constitution of Ghana. We therefore wish to state that Vea and the affected communities shall vehemently resist any attempt by any group or institution to disrupt the execution of the Project which is very dear to our well-being and survival,” they stressed.
Addressing a press conference at Vea, Naba Thomas Azubire II, the Chief of Vea, said the government had excluded the community and adjoining communities from socioeconomic development by deliberately refusing to construct the bridge over the dam’s spillway after several appeals.
Mr. Milton Aberinga, the Chairman of the Vea Home Coming Group, alleged that after several appeals to government and promises by the Minister of Roads and Highway to construct the bridge yielded no results, the communities took steps to construct the bridge themselves, but the government authorities prevented them.
“In 2020, members of the Vea Home Coming Group mobilised their own resources to construct the bridge and as law abiding citizens, members of the Vea Home Coming Group led by their Chief and the Assembly Member, approached the Irrigation Company, of Upper Region (ICOUR) to inform them of our plans towards the project since the government was not willing to honour its obligation but to our utmost disappointment, we were bluntly warned not to do any work across the spillway.
“Then as if that was not enough, a delegation was sent to the Regional Minister in January 2023 to seek approval for the construction of the bridge and to our utmost surprise, the Regional Minister said that the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) already had in its possession, the design of the bridge.
“So, the Minister proposed that if the community had the money for the construction, it should first of all give the RCC the design so that if it meets their standard, then the money should as well be given to the RCC for them to get a contractor to execute the work for them. We deem this statement by the minister as unfortunate and a mockery to the chiefs and people of the affected communities,” he said.
Reacting to the press conference, Mr Stephen Yakubu, the Upper East Regional Minister, denied asking the community to give the money they had to construct the bridge to the RCC to give it a contractor to construct the bridge.
“I cannot remember having a meeting with the community concerning the road and asking them to give me money and if there was a meeting at all I would have asked them to work with the Regional Engineer to construct the bridge according to the required standard but not to give me money, so the allegations are totally untrue,” he added.
He said the road was part of the rehabilitation of the dam, however, the project was currently undergoing re-scoping and promised to follow up to ensure that bridge was constructed to bring relief to the people in the area.