General News Thu, 20 Sep 2018

Bagre dam spillage: Criticism of Government’s response uninformed – Minister

The Northern Regional Minister Salif Saeed has described as a baseless criticism of the government’s handling of the aftermath of the spillage of the Bagre dam.

The spillage of the dam plus weeks of torrential downpour has so far left 18 people dead with over 100,000 displaced.

The central government has come under intense bashing following the destruction from the twin occurrence which has left regional authorities and the National Disaster Management Organisation overwhelmed and helpless as they sprawl to contain the situation.

A host of non-governmental organizations and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) slammed the government for appearing aloof in the wake of the destruction in the northern regions.

“It will not be farfetched if the people who are affected make such conclusions that the president doesn’t care,” he said.

In a riposte, Saeed rejected the criticism, suggesting that it was borne out of misinformation. He further defended the silence of Dr Bawumia on the disaster when he visited the region, noting that he needed to be fully briefed before he speaks.

“He didn’t take a decision not to meet the people and he is in constant touch with the people. He came and did very significant activities, national activities with the people in the region. The Vice President doesn’t talk just for talking sake, when he is talking he has to talk to the issue, he shouldn’t just be speculating, so that is why if you have not heard from him, he needs to get proper briefing with regards to what and what is happening on the ground, that will guard him because whatever he says, it will mean a lot,” said Saeed.

He further stated that notwithstanding, the vice president met with some of the victims when he visited the region and that now that he has been fully briefed and up-to-speed with the situation he is returning to hit the affected ground for first-hand information.

“The key stakeholders we met, they called for them to brief him, to give him detail briefing on where and where the problems are, and then we met and discussed. So we gave him detail briefing and he’s now going to fully involve himself directly.

“In all these affected areas, there are leaders leading the process, even the items and whatever, we called some of them to come and pick some relieve items from the regional level. So he met them and he needed to rush back to Accra for another national assignment, then to come back to properly go onto the ground himself,” he stated.

Meanwhile, Security analyst Adam Bonah has called for the immediate declaration of a “state of emergency” in the northern regions following the devastating twin occurrence of the spillage.

“This thing has been going on for how many weeks? The state of emergency should have been declared by now. ECOWAS should have been brought in because it has to do with intra-Africa, where you have water spillage from a neighbouring country into another neighbouring country that has affected about 50, 000,” said Bonah on Morning Starr.

“Everybody along this spillage way is now for himself or herself. That’s lamentable,” the NDC Member of Parliament for Tamale Central Inusah Fuseini said.

Re-echoing the sentiments of the lawmaker, the NDC in the region at an earlier press conference described as depressing the government’s neglect of the victims of the twin occurrence. According to the NDC, the silence of Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia on the disaster when he was in the region clearly showed that the Akufo-Addo government do not care about the over 100,000 displaced struggling to survive.

The president has not shown care to the victims of the spillage, the Inequality Programmes and Campaigns Manager of Oxfam Zakaria Sulemana told Starr News.

“This matter requires the highest political attention. By now we should have heard the president, in fact, we should have seen the president visit the area to console them or better still initiate an action to ensure that this does not happen again.

Source: Starrfmonline.com