There is more to the story on the disposal of toxic waste from Nigeria at Essipong, near Sekondi, than meets the eye.
According to the state-run Daily Graphic, a ship, named Spirit River, en route from Nigeria to Trinidad, carrying ‘toxic oil base mud’ from the Benniboye Oil Fields in the Benin State of Nigeria, diverted its course to Ghana, and disposed of the toxic waste near a landfill site at Essipong in the Western Region.
The Chronicle is unable to comprehend why Ghana should be chosen as a dumping ground for such dangerous waste. We believe there is more to the choice than meets the eye.
We congratulate the Ghana Navy for their ability to track the vessel and arrest it. The ship and its crew should be detained until the whole truth emerges. We do not believe the choice of dumping ground was purely accidental. We are in no doubt that it was a well-planned conspiracy to dispose of the waste in this country, damming the hazardous consequences to the health of the people.
We are told that Ghana has a treatment plant at Shama, also in the Western Region, where such waste is treated to remove the dangerous chemicals in it before it is disposed of. We do not believe the captain and his crew are oblivious to the fact that they could have negotiated with the Ghanaian authorities for the waste to be treated for a fee.
For the captain and his crew to circumvent this arrangement, means they believed they could take Ghanaians for a ride. If that is not what they had intended, then why did they not dispose of the toxic waste in Nigeria.
After all, Nigeria has a longer coast line than Ghana. They came all the way from Benin State in Nigeria, went past the nation-states of Benin and Togo, and decided that Ghana was well-disposed towards the disposal of the toxic waste they carried on board.
It is a crime for which the owners of the ship, the captain, and his crew would have to atone for. In all this complex arrangement of bringing the waste to our shores, there appears to have been local collaborators. By this, we do not mean the poor local residents, who might have received pittances as their fees to dump the toxic waste at Essipong.
We are inclined to believe that the local collaborators could be people who understand the implications of dumping toxic waste on our land. That is why we are calling for an extensive investigation to unravel the whole mystery.
The heroic role of the navy comes in for mention. The vigilance of the navy was what eventually, led to the arrest of the vessel and its crew. Our navy is poorly resourced in relation to the task of patrolling our waters. This nation might not be all that rich, but our new status as a Middle Income nation demands that we improve on the way we do things.
The Chronicle is of the opinion that the Navy, like the Air Force and ground troops would do with more vessels, aircraft, and modern equipment. The Ghana Armed Forces deserves to be better equipped to meet the demands on them to safeguard the nation’s territorial boundaries.
In the interim, we would like to extend the traditional well done to the navy. AYEKOO!