General News of 2014-03-13

Mahama, Accra Mayor criticised for hotel collapse

President John Mahama and the Accra Mayor have come under criticism for yet another incident of a building collapse in the capital which has claimed one life and injured another.

Executive Secretary of the Bureau of Safety, Nana Amihere, told Joy News Thursday's sad incident must be blamed squarely on the president who has put "square pegs in round holes."

Barely two years after the Achimota branch of the Melcom shopping mall collapsed and killed 14 people, the nation has been hit with yet another disaster as an uncompleted six-storey hotel located in Nii Boi town in Accra crumbled early Thursday morning.

Rescue workers have so far rescued one person who is receiving treatment. One other was retrieved dead.

Assistant Divisional officer of the Fire Service, Joseph Mensah, who is leading the rescue effort, told Joy News the rescuers are not giving up hope of rescuing more people until they reach base of the collapsed building.

He bemoaned resource constraints and difficulties controlling the crowd but said the rescuers were soldiering on nonetheless.

The Accra Mayor Alfred Vanderpuije who was on the scene of the incident told Joy News' Afreh-Nuamah his outfit had persistently warned the owner of the building and the contractor to stop work on the building but all the warnings were ignored.

He would not comment on what came of the investigation into the Melcom disaster.

Joy News has learnt that the committee that was set up to look into the Melcom Disaster is yet to submit a final report to government even though a draft report cited, among other things, poor quality of building materials as the cause of the collapse of that building.

Speaking to Joy News on the recent collapse, an angry Nana Amihere said the AMA Chief Executive Alfred Oko Vanderpuije has been incompetent and the president must be blamed for retaining him in office.

"What are we doing to ourselves? We have people we put in charge to look after the affairs of the state yet day in day out we hear all these things going on.

"If you cover your incompetence with excuses, it will come back and hit you in the face," he said.

He said the president knowing the myriad of "commissions and omissions" of Alfred Vanderpuije should not have renewed his mandate and since he kept Mr. Vanderpuije in office in spite of everything, the recent disaster should be taken to the "door step of the president."

He said the president has "sworn an oath to protect Ghanaian lives" and "must be ready to get the right people to man our institutions."