Fishermen in the Ketu South District are fuming over a recent State-sponsored construction of a huge wall deep into Atlantic Ocean at the Aflao Border, in a bid to curtail smuggling of goods into the country.
The move has provoked widespread condemnation from the fishermen who say the wall has become a major impediment to their activities.
The growing anger forced the Member of Parliament for Ketu South Constituency, Hon. Albert Kwasi Zigah, to take the matter to the floor of the House in the form of a question.
Later in an interview with Citi News' Parliamentary Correspondent, Richard Sky, the MP called for immediate removal of the wall.
“It is about 1,000 kilometres to the far north as far as to Bawku. And all of them are entry points; there is no wall from that place to Bawku. 25 metres of land, which the fishermen also use as their source of income; especially if they throw the dragnet, depending on the tidal waves, the waves drag the net sometimes into the Republic of Togo and they make their good catch. Since the inception of that wall, the fishermen cannot operate. So if we are talking about having oversight responsibility over our lands and preventing would-be criminals and smuggling, we cannot compare 25 metres to 1,000 kilometres".
"So as a matter of fact, it is not in the right for that the wall should be erected over there. We have moved from that stage of walling our people. Are we in the times of the Berlin wall in Germany? I don’t understand!
“From Nigeria, Benin, Togo, La Cote D’Ivoire up to the shores of Senegal, there is no beach wall. This is a wall which has height into the Atlantic Ocean preventing the fishermen from doing their normal business”.
Although the MP admits that smuggling is widespread along the coast, he believes that the construction of the wall has gone beyond the limit.
“I cannot deny that fact because this is a human institution. Definitely if there are elements of smuggling going on by the beachside, what about the 1,000 kilometres to the north? Is there any wall from Aflao to Bawku? There is no wall. They (CEPS and Immigration Officials) are stationed at Aflao and they can even see beyond the shores of Aflao border so why the construction of this beach wall?” he asked.
“There was no beach wall ever erected by any government. The colonial masters only erected a demarcation stone which was further pushed forward during Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s regime. The wall must be removed because we cannot be enslaved. Are we living up to the ideologies of ECOWAS or the colonial masters? Even if there is a status quo as at now, it won’t be applicable after a certain period of time. So the status quo must be married with the norms and traditions of the land. The wall must be removed and the Government must listen. The shores of Senegal up to Nigeria, there is no beach wall, why Aflao?”.
Interior Minister, Dr. Benjamin Kumbuor who was on the floor of Parliament declined a response to the MP’s questions, saying it did not fall under his Ministry.
He explained that the project which is to curb smuggling is supervised by the Customs Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS), which directly falls under the Finance Ministry.
Meanwhile, the President of the Youth Fishermen Association of Aflao, Seth Abilla, has told Citi News that despite the erection of the beach wall, smuggling takes place on daily places with the help of CEPS and Immigration officials.
He alleged that smugglers connive with CEPS officials to leap over the wall with their goods. According to him, the wall is not serving any purpose but rather interrupting their fishing activities and affecting their income.
Mr. Seth Abilla urged Government to remove the wall. He said they will continue to complain until something is one about the situation.
|Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are those of the writers and do not reflect those of Peacefmonline.com. Peacefmonline.com accepts no responsibility legal or otherwise for their accuracy of content. Please report any inappropriate content to us, and we will evaluate it as a matter of priority.|