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A year after melcom disaster

Fri, 8 Nov 2013 Source: Forum for Progressive Ghana

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The blood of victims from the grave crying for justice

The Forum for Progressive Ghana (FPG) wishes to remind the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) and the Government of Ghana, of their responsibility to implement the recommendations in the report of the committee set up to investigate the Melcom Disaster now.

Exactly a year ago, on 7th November, 2012, the Melcom Building situated at Achimota in Accra collapsed killing 14 people made up of shoppers and workers and leaving over 78 people with serious injuries.

As usual, a committee was hurriedly set up to investigate the causes of the Melcom disaster and give its recommendations to the president for implementation. The Ghana Institute of Engineers (GIE) set up an 11 member committee led by Professor Samuel Innocent Kofi Ampadu to investigate the incident.

Regrettably, Prof. Ampadu stated that “it is the view of GIE that situation in the Melcom building represents that of hundreds of other buildings, not only in Accra, but in many other cities and towns in Ghana”.

Many Ghanaians are therefore exposed to risks of having private and commercial building facilities, collapsing on them. The Forum for Progressive Ghana is very worried that if corrective measures and appropriate punishment are not put in place to ensure that proper construction procedures are followed, many more lives would be needlessly lost to such disasters. The negligence of metropolitan and municipal building inspectors who allow themselves to be compromised to the chagrin of public safety is a major factor in this situation.

In other jurisdictions where public safety and the lives of citizens are given top most priority, such a disaster would have seen the resignation of top officials. In this case, as in many others, no responsible officer(s) had the humility and guilt to tender in his/her resignation. The government did not also see the need to interdict any official for negligence of duty.

During his visit to the scene of the disaster, President John Dramani Mahama gave a strong indication that persons whose negligence caused the collapse of the multi-storey Melcom building at Achimota would be dealt with.

Families and loved ones of the victims took the president’s word seriously and hoped that at least there would be some justice served. But alas !, just like many promises of President John Dramani Mahama, those whose actions and negligence caused the collapse and the deaths are walking freely and prying their trade to cause another disaster and needless death to Ghanaians.

The A.M.A Chief Executive, Alfred Oko Vanderpuye, in the wake of the disaster ordered the arrest of one Christian Ababio, a building inspector of the Accra Metropolitan Authority for collecting bribe from a contractor working on a building on the Kwashieman N1 Highway. This same Mr. Ababio had been implicated in the Melcom disaster for not doing his job properly. This move was ostensibly made to calm the nerves of the Ghanaian populace and also appease the families of the victims that something was being done.

It is extremely disheartening that, a year on, the families and loved ones of the Melcom disaster victims are crying for justice without a single state official and/or private individual whose negligence caused the incident, being cited and given the appropriate punishment.

In fact, the arrest of Mr. Christian Ababio, was nothing but a charade to douse the tension. Today, the FPG can state that the gentleman, Mr. Christian Ababio who gave the permit and supervised the construction of the Melcom Storey Building is back at post and doing what he knows best; giving fake building permits and supervising shoddy works. Another disaster is looming if we look on without being vigilant.

The Forum for Progressive Ghana is calling on the president to, for once, walk his talk and make good his promises by bringing to book any person(s) whose dereliction of duty created the disaster.

The blood of innocent victims from the grave is crying for justice and we call on the authorities to act now before another disaster strikes the country due to their negligence.

IMPLEMENT RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE COMMITTEE’S REPORTS NOW !!!

Signed:

• Askanda Adam Badaru , President (026 660 8175)

• Joseph Nana Kofi Akomeah, Gen. Sec. (024 602 8182)

• Clement Tino Adu, P.R.O (024 923 1158)

Columnist: Forum for Progressive Ghana