The ‘atsiakpo’ business started in the early 2000s where the locals feel the then ‘Salt Development Project Task Force’ (SDPTF), that took over from the then Vacuum Salt Company Limited is not doing enough in the area of employment and that the Songor lagoon is not producing much salt to allow for more people to even mine during harvesting time.
Some few people then decided to experiment something outside the lagoon and fortunately they made some salt. A continuous experimentation has resulted in many people rushing and cashing in on the new way of doing salt ‘atsiakpo’. But this new way or method is rather a recipe for the destruction of the Songor Lagoon.
This situation and trend was fiercely resisted by the Paramountcy and the Ada traditional council because they realise that if the this atsiakpo should be allowed to thrive, it will gradually degrade and destroy the natural environment within the Songor lagoon. The traditional council then formed a task force to do away with everyone involved in the ‘atsiakpo’ business but was met with serious resistance. The same forces that opposed the council’s orders are the same faces behind ASLA today.
NENE MAILO DADEBOM OF TOFLOKPO: he happens to be the chairman and convenor of ASLA, the group that is not making everybody sleep in Ada.
He has portions in the lagoon allocated for himself and family. This illegal acquisition became a no go area for anybody. He hired people who work for him and just like any other person involved in the atsiakpo business, he exploits the people to enrich himself and being a chief was never able to use some of the proceeds from the atsiakpo to develop his community.
He therefore lacks the moral right to cause anyone sleepless night in the name of fighting for the people of Ada when in reality he’s only protecting his selfish and parochial interest.
NENE DADEBOM ANIM: this is the chief of Salom who is currently serving an indefinite suspension from the Ada Traditional Council, for gross insubordination.
This man threatened to beat members of the Ada Youth Forum for Development on a community sensitization program at Toflokpo. He also used his rod to hit one Chai, who was trying to restrain him in another led attack on Electrochem workers by him. He also led community members to attack the security forces on their routine patrol duty in the Songor.
He also has a stake in the atsiakpo business and therefore threatened by the presence of Electrochem Gh. Ltd. His late father and himself gave out portions of the Ada Songor lands to individuals from which he continues to enjoy. This chief just like Nene Mailo, have enjoyed bountifully from the atsiakpo business that destroyed the Songor Lagoon and even at the worst state of the Lagoon are still enjoying to the detriment of the entire Ada state and would not want to give way for the redevelopment program by the government being executed by Electrochem Gh Ltd.
KWESI DAMEH: he was once a self-imposed chief at Bornikope. This man also allocated portions of the lagoon to himself and has continued to enjoy from it without the consent of the original owner, the government of Ghana. This man has consistently mobilised the youth of his area to attack workers of Electrochem Gh Ltd. He is resolved to ensuring that nothing is achieved by Electrochem within and around the Bornikope area.
EMMANUEL TEYE ANIM.aka Goma: this man is the stool father to Nene Mailo of Toflokpo. He also holds a very big portion of the Lagoon from where he makes thousands of Ghana cedis if not millions. He holds the opinion that the agreement between the government through the Minerals commission, the Four Okor clans and Electrochem Gh Ltd should be terminated and signed only with the Terkpebiawe clan.
This opinion was founded on the argument that the Songor Lagoon belongs to only the Terkperbiawe clan, he therefore took the law into his own hands and just like the others above gave out portions of the Songor to individuals from where he makers money. He also has several atsiakpos to his name and as usual exploit the people who work for him.
THE LEADERSHIP OF DESPA: the leadership of the Ada East Salt Producers Associoation(DESPA), has now join forces with the leading members of ASLA, to complicate the already precarious situation.
This group has initially collaborated very well with Electrochem Gh Ltd, but along the line started making demands that the company would not be able to honour hence their u-turn. Among the unwarranted demands include, they claim to have acquired a thousand (1000) acres of the land for their operations but it happens that the said acres of land fall within the concession granted to Electrochem.
They wanted the company the relinquish their 1000 acres to them instead of the initial arrangement which the company has already taken steps to fulfil. Some leading members of DESPA also requested two bedroom houses each be built for them with two hundred Ghana cedis added to it. These same leaders also requested that that company suspends works on the Bornikope community pans and instead construct individual pans for them. These request the company insisted would not be in the interest of the people hence their turning around to join in the fight to disrupt the smooth operations of the company.
All the above put together have just one aim and ambition to see Electrochem fold up but this is a dream that will never materialize.
LIBI WORNOR: Libi Wornor happens to be the former chief priest of the TERKPERBIAWE clan. He sold portions of the lagoon to an investor known as Merssrs Covenant Company Limited in 2013, without the knowledge of the Terkperbiawe or the Ada traditional council yet prepared an M.O.U as though it was the Terkperbiawe clan that gave out the land to the company. This issue only came to light when the entire Songor Lagoon was leased to Electrochem Gh Ltd in 2019 by the government of Ghana through the minerals commission. In the attempt to cover up his actions took Electrochem to court pleading the court to put injunction on the company but that also fell flat since he has no jurisdiction to actually lease any portion of the Songor Land.
Since the takeover of the Songor Lagoon by government, the ‘yomo’ was reserved for the people of Ada but Nomo Apedo Ayornu (former Libi Wornor), hijacked the place for the past two to three decade since he became the Libi Wornor before his destoolment. He was also not able to account for the amount of money he realised from the ‘yomo’ to both the Ada Traditional Council and the Terkperbiawe clan to which he belongs.
He’s action is a clear case to cover up his initial actions since the investor he earlier sold portions of the Lagoon to will also be after him to recover his money. Libi Wornor joined forces with ASLA to as a matter fact frustrate Electrochem but this was short lived after the courts declaration.
NAANA KORLEKIE KORLEY: she was also suspended indefinitely for gross insubordination to the Ada Traditional Council. She was part of Electrochem from day one, she also played very important roles for the company to be able to come to Ada. She come up certain demands that the company finds too outrageous and the inability of the company and its C.E.O to actually meet her demands saw her turn her backs to also join forces just like others to fight the company.
She wanted the company to buy her a car and her daughter who is abroad to be sole food vendor to the company to the detriment of the natives around. She also wanted the company’s C.E.O to clear four forty footer containers for her from the UK. The company couldn’t meet these demands hence the turn around to join forces with ASLA to fight this unnecessary war of trajectory.
NOMO ATTEH DOKU aka TSEKO ATTEH/ATTEH TIPPER: this man was part of Electrochem from its inception. He was part of some negotiations and consultations before the company finally arrived in September 2019. But in February, 2022, the company realized the he (Nomo Atteh Doku), sold about 6000 acres of the concession around Pute-Patukope area to another investor for farming. The issue was reported to the Ada Traditional Council and he was called for questioning. Out of shame and arrogance, he decided to join forces ASLA to fight the both the traditional council and Electrochem Gh Ltd.
NENE ASEM HUADJI: this is the chief of Kablevu. This man in a not too distant past stated clearly that the atsiakpo business in the Songor was not just illegal but a tool that was destroying the songor lagoon and that if he has the power, he would ensure that every one engaged in that activity is shown the exit from the lagoon.
Today this same man has joined forces with ASLA to fight a legitimate company working in the lagoon because he also leased portions of the lagoon to individuals engaged in the atsiakpo business with himself involved. He even went ahead to mobilise his town folks to beat up workers of Electrchem a situation that almost ended the life of a worker and thereafter pretended to be the victim of the situation, (a situation the police are still investigating).
AHUMAH TETTEH KARIMU aka small jesus: Ahumah also a very large portion of the concession granted to Electrochem Gh Ltd after Kablevu, an area he claimed was acquired by his late father from some members of the Terpkerbiawe clan. The fact is now clear that the place was illegitimately acquired and that it falls directly within Electrochem’s operational area. This did not sit well with Ahuma and therefore had to join hands with the above mentioned names to disrupt the smooth operations of Electrochem. In the group called ASLA Ahuma earned the title, ‘small jesus’. He is the organizer and the PRO for ASLA
EBENEZER ADJAOTOR aka Atola: this is another member of ASLA who acts their media officer. He is not even a native of Ada but has being used consistently to give Electrochem a very bad publicity just to cause disaffection for the company among the locals. He is also playing a very critical role for the NDC party in the Sege constituency since they have used this Songor issue as a propaganda tool. This guy is being used by all the factions that have made it a point to disrupt the activities of Electrochem in and around the Songor area especially on social media. He uses names like, Adjaottor Ebenezer, Ada Eagle Eye, Great Youth of Ada Reloaded among others, all in his bid to run down the company.
LAWRENCE KATEY NGUNEKPEKU (HON.): he happens to be the assembly member of the Adjomanikope electoral area. This area shares immediate boundary with Electrochem to the North. He is a strong proponent to the organized opposition against the company hiding behind the mask of NDC in the Sege constituency. He started the opposition with a case that the company didn’t come to the assembly for them to also give their conditions for the operations of the company.
He is also the brain behind the quest to impose the so called ‘master plan’ on the company therefore the unnecessary legal tassels the company had to fight. He was the brain behind the Mafi Luta group that stopped the company workers at the quarry site in the near past.
NOAH DAMEH, SERWA WARE AND AMANOR DZIAG & RADIO ADA (THE RADIO ADA TRIO): these three and Radio Ada have become the official mouth piece of ASLA. In time past Electrochem Gh Ltd approached Radio Ada to be their official mouth but this turn out to be the opposite. Radio Ada used their platform to cause a lot of disaffection for Electrochem.
Radio Ada was a proponent for the abolisehment of atsiakpo in the Songor Lagoon. This action led to the formation of ‘Yikatseme’, a group of women who fought for the abolishment of the atsiakpo in the Songor. These women have always accused Radio Ada for using them to solicit for funds both locally and internationally for advocacy for the development of the Songor lagoon when it was in its worst form.
The women accused Radio Ada and these three for not being able to account for the funds they secured from donor organizations using them. Their current actions have justified the claim by these women that they and the state of the Songor was just being by Radio Ada and these three for their selfish parochial interest.
Again, these three have initiated and hosted a program called ‘manor munyu’. This program was used as a propaganda tool to destroy the company before the public and also set the stage for both themselves amd some members of the public to insult and denigrate the Paramount chief of Ada, the Paramountcy and the Ada Traditional council.
They have collaborated with ASLA to organize several demonstrations which were covered live by the station and the station also organized several community programs to misinform these communities about the operations Electrochem Gh Ltd. People even believed that they staged an attack on the radio station to make it look as if it was caused by Electrochem. The ‘manor munyu’ was actually a tool used to paint a very bad image of the company and the Ada Tradional Council but unfortunately for the station the public has become enlightened with a lot of truth and the station is almost irrelevant now.
EVELYN AKWELEY NARTEY OF STAR CHEMICALS: another member of ASLA but with a very interesting background. She is the daughter of the former MD of Star Chemicals, one of the three companies whose mining leases were terminated by the PNDC Law 287.
The government at the time gave these companies the opportunity to submit all relevant documents for compensation. This means that Star Chemicals today is for the state and for that matter the government and any associate of Star Chemicals only have issues with the government if even there are any.
It is therefore surprising to see Akweley joining forces with ASLA to lay the claim that Electrochem Gh Ltd has unlawfully taken what is rightly hers. This is no surprise because she a purported ex-convict and a deportee who is desperate to acquire something but failed because she was ill informed and misguided by people who are opposed to Electrochem. From day one Electrochem called for a truce and to find a way to sort Akweley and her family on humanitarian grounds, this gesture was greatly commended by other members of her family but she went behind the family in a way of betrayal to join forces with ASLA to subject Electrochem to unnecessary vilification.
In sum, all the above are neither fighting the interest of any ‘Adano’ nor the Ada state as a whole. It is simply a game of selfish interest.
JOPP VISER: Another promoter of ‘atsiakpo’ in the Songor Lagoon. This man was a Roman father who came to Ada in the 1980s as a priest of the Catholic Missions but did the unthinkable that led to his excommunication from the priesthood. In Ada, he found for himself a girlfriend with whom he has given birth. This led to the Catholic Church excommunicating him.
He then went missing only to resurface after the Songor was leased by the government of Ghana to Electrochem Ghana limited for redevelopment after suffering many years of destruction in the hands of people like Joop Visser’s girlfriend. He claims to have being part of the Songor redevelopment plan with former president Rawlings and we therefore think he should be glad with what is currently happening in the Songor Lagoon since the locals have now found a place through the introduction of the community pan system by Electrochem Ghana limited something that has never being captured under his so called redevelopment plan.
The fact remains that this man is one of the faces behind ASLA whose single agenda is to see that the project fails because people like his girlfriend matters more to him than the good people of Ada. Clearly, he is only interested in defending and protecting the girlfriend who owns and operates atsiakpo within the Lagoon rather than fighting for the general interest of all Adali.