Tension is mounting at Lapla, a community at Bongase in the Banda District of the Bono Region after over a hundred residents were displaced.
This comes after officials of the Bui Power Authority (BPA), May 18, 2020, with armed security personnel demolished and set their shelters on fire, burning almost everything they had including money and educational materials for their final year students.
According to the frustrated fisher folks, their plea to pick some few valuables was fiercely rejected by the BPA officials and security personnel who embarked on the exercise with a bulldozer.
The affected persons, including women, children, and the elderly recounted their loss to JoyNews‘ Bono Regional Correspondent, Precious Semevoh at Lapla.
The victims, mostly fish farmers, derive their livelihood from the river where the Bui Power Authority generates electricity.
Assemblyman for the area, Peter Dongi said there were 12 different shelters built within a cashew plantation near the bank of the river, with each housing about 15 people.
He said he rushed to the community after receiving a call, only to find the security personnel and BPA officials, including one Eric, a Land Administrator at BPA, on-site, pulling down the shelters.
He further alleged that a nearby project by BPA which will include an ultramodern restaurant is the reason for the eviction. “We appreciate their plan to develop the community but they should show us a different area of land to resettle on. That discussion was not conclusive only for them to raze our shelter and properties to the ground”, he lamented.
DCE for Banda, Mary Konne told a brief meeting of affected persons and sympathisers from nearby communities that, as the Chairperson for the District Security Council, she had no prior knowledge of such an exercise at Lapla.
While sympathising with them and assurance of finding out the source of the exercise, she advised them not to draw conclusions as to the motive for the exercise until it is fully established.
Member of Parliament (MP) for Banda Constituency, Ahmed Ibrahim said he suspects political machinations due to the fact that the people are mostly from the Volta Region, adding, he will, in the interim, evacuate them to a safe place.
“I am worried as the chief and people said they have heard they are being evicted simply because they are Voltarians”, noting, he will report to the CEO of BPA, Fred Oware, and further engage them on the issue. “Such utterances should not come out from workers of BPA as it won’t foster unity and peace,” he stressed.
The MP and DCE, in the interim, agreed to evacuate them, especially the vulnerable among them, to some nearby schools at Bongase with the Incumbent MP providing food for them.
Chief of Bongase, Nana Haya Bosom II said for ten years BPA have prevented them from erecting any building project.
“Where do they want our visitor (the affected persons) to go? the chief asked, urging BPA to ensure the demolished structures are restored.
The chief said they need help to amicably resolve this with BPA immediately, sternly adding, “else from tomorrow we will have serious issues with them should we see any of their vehicles at Bongase,” a position already expressed by the assemblyman, Peter Dongi.
The affected persons are appealing to the government to come to their aid.
“I don’t know what I will eat with my children. The government should come to our aid because the soldiers are killing them”, Madam Adwoa Nsiah, a mother of eight, whose husband has traveled at the time of the incident said.
“Our strengths cannot help us if the government fails to build a new place for us. We are also Ghanaians. Even where to sleep tonight especially the children among us, is a headache since they burnt all our mattresses”, another victim, Selina Agbodzi said.