JHS Bock In Deplorable, Deadly State

At the time that the government of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) is shouting from the rooftops to have successfully cleared all schools sitting under trees across the length and breadth of the country, one school that goes beyond sitting under trees, considering the dilapidating structure of its building is the Wassa Manhyia D.A. Junior High School, located in Amenfi Central in the Western Region.

The school is believed to be the only educational institution that serves Junior High School (JHS) 1-3 students from about six communities and villages dotted around Wassa Manhyia.  But the sorry and sordid state of the school has led to parents withdrawing their wards from for farming activities instead.

In fact, considering the dilapidated structures of the school, parents have no option than to withdraw their wards for farming activities, for the simple reason that the lives of their wards were at risk, a teacher told this paper.

Information available to The Chronicle indicates that for the last four years since government officials cut the sod to renovate the school, the project had been abandoned, as the contractor could not be traced.  Considering the dangerous-looking structure of the school, the authorities are left with no other option than to close for lessons when the rain begins.

“In rainy seasons, we do not open for school at all, because our roofing is bad and porous,” the teacher told with this paper.  The Assembly Member for the Srae Eyeayie Electoral Area, Raphael Messiah Akuebilla, in whose jurisdiction the dilapidated school structure sits, confirmed the situation in an interview with The Chronicle.

He told this reporter that he was a worried man because the future of the children of his electoral area was being toiled with by this government. To him, every children of school-going age deserved to have a conducive environment and structure to sit in to study.

However, the opposite was the case in his electoral area. “In fact, in my electoral area, the education of the pupils is being toiled with, and this makes me a worried Assembly Member.”  Assembly Member Akuebilla told this reporter that his worry stemmed from the fact that parents were withdrawing their wards from school for farming activities for fear that the structure housing the students could, at anytime, collapse on them.

1Akuebilla confirmed that since four years ago when government officials, including the Amenfi Central District Assembly, cut the sod to renovate the structure, the contractor of the project could not be traced.  He said that he followed up to the District Assembly and lodged a formal complaint on the need to hurriedly save the dilapidated school structure from collapsing on the students.

The District Assembly, according to the Assembly Member, told him the same story – that the contractor could not be found.  Worried over the dilapidated structure, Assembly Member Akuebilla, also known as ‘RAM’, told this paper he followed up to the District Education Directorate, but there was no help coming from there.

Chiefs Demand Withdrawal Of Naval Officers

Tension is mounting between the Tongor- Dzemeni community in the South Dayi District of the Volta Region and naval officers stationed in the area, following an assault on a youth, whose only crime was that he had complained about the way the naval officers were brutalising a child.
But for the timely intervention of the elders, the youth had also planned to retaliate. The chiefs and their elders have, instead, petitioned the government, through the South Dayi District Chief Executive, Mr. Semanu Kafui Bekoe, to withdraw the naval personnel from the area, and that they could no longer co-exist with them.

Speaking at a press conference at Tongor-Dzemeni, Mr. John Abotsi, an Elder of the town who read the statement on behalf of the chiefs and people, noted that they -Tongor- Dzemeni people – are law abiding citizens who have tolerated the bad conduct of the naval personnel over the years.  They, however, became fed up on May 13, 2016, when the naval officers, without provocation, assaulted a youth in the town.

Mr. Abotsi explained that the petition calling for the withdrawal of the security men until the matter is resolved was for peace to prevail and that there was high tension in the town which could endanger the existing peace, if the government failed to withdraw the naval personnel. He pointed out that the security men deployed to the Tongor-Dzemeni area had abandoned their core duties, which includes helping to prevent accidents on the Volta Lake.

Transport on Volta lakeAccording to the elders, the security men are allegedly collecting between GH¢15 and GH¢200 from each of the boats that would land at Tongor- Dzemeni during market days, without any reason. The naval personnel have also turned themselves into revenue collectors at the Dzemeni market during market days, thereby depriving the District Assembly of the needed revenue, and that the security personnel issue no receipt for the monies they collect.  Those who resist the illegal payment, the elders alleged, were brutalised.

Mr. Abotsi also stressed that it was a shame that naval officers trained by the state to perform specific duties in the interest of the nation had turned themselves into debt collectors in the community. According to him (Abotsi), the naval personnel had demonstrated gross disrespect to the traditional authorities, as they arbitrate cases among the people without the knowledge of the chiefs. This, to them, is a taboo, and hence the need for the government to remove the personnel immediately.

Mr. Abotsi noted that the community members were very worried about the negative activities of the naval personnel, because traders and boat owners who transact business at the Tongor- Dzemeni market have stopped coming due to assaults at the hands of the naval personnel. Traders are now patronising markets like Akatey, thereby, destroying business activities at Dzemeni.

He continued that what had annoyed the members of the Tongor-Dzemeni community in recent times was the alleged sexual activities of the naval personnel with married women, as well as the luring of some of the youth into the smoking of India hemp, popularly known as “wee”, and that anytime the elders reprimanded those youth, the naval personnel would beat them up, including chiefs and their wives among others.

The National Chairman of the Lake Region Fishermen Association of Ghana, Mr. Robert Castro Mediale, in an interview with the media, explained that the association was highly disappointed in the activities of the naval personnel, because they had failed the people over the years by not helping to prevent accidents on the Volta Lake.

According to Mr. Mediale, the naval personnel lacked the requisite equipment, and that accidents continued to occur on the lake.  Regrettably, anytime the naval personnel, based at Tongor-Dzemeni, were called to help in saving lives and property, they would not respond, but due to the effort of his outfit no life has been lost in such accidents.

Chairman Mediale disclosed that the chiefs and people of Tongor-Dzemeni have tolerated the negative activities of the security personnel, to the extent that three persons had died through similar assaults since 2007 when they assumed duty in the area. According to him, the life of the current victim was in danger, and even though he was medically treated and discharged at the Volta Regional Hospital in Ho, Mr. Gadri (victim) could no longer engage in any meaningful economic activity.

Mr. Mediale further explained that there would be no problem at all when the naval personnel are withdrawn from the area, because the Lake Region Fishermen Association had formed rescue committees who worked on the Volta Lake regularly, and that the reduction in the accidents on the Volta Lake was not in any way due to the presence of the naval personnel, but rather as a result of the commitment and cooperation from the various boat operators and the rescue committees.

The Commanding Officer in charge of the Naval base at Tongor-Dzemeni, Chief Petty Officer Emmanuel Boakye, explained that the incidents took place before he took over command recently, and hoped to build a healthy relationship between the naval officers and the Tongor-Dzemeni community, promising that those negative incidents would no longer happen.

Re-Construction Of Hohoe Roads Begins

From Samuel Agbewode

3Residents of Hohoe have expressed joy over construction work currently being carried out on portions of the town roads, which, they said, even though has been long overdue, needs to be commended, because it would not only beautify the town, but also make motoring more comfortable.
According to the residents, the town roads were neglected for far too long, and had become very nasty during the rainy season, a development that compelled some taxi drivers to avoid using certain roads due to their bad nature, with those willing to ply them charging exorbitant fares.

Mr. Emmanuel Sogbey, speaking to Volta File at Hohoe, said the town is one of the commercial centers, and highly strategic in the socioeconomic development of the region, therefore, there was the need to improve upon the road infrastructure.

He observed that it was a common knowledge that when an election year begins, governments would always start new projects as a way of attracting more votes, and as soon as elections were over, the projects would be abandoned, and hoped that the Hohoe town roads would not become a victim of such politics.

Mr. Sogbey lauded the work of the contractor, John Mork Construction Limited, working on the Hohoe hospital area roads, and appealed to the authorities to award all the town roads to the contractor, in view of the seriousness he attached to the work, to ensure an early completion of the project.

Madam Veronica Atitsogbey commended the government for the project, saying even though work on the roads was expected long ago, she appreciated the commitment on the part of the government. Briefing the media, the Managing Director of John Mork Construction Company Limited, Mr. John Morkli, said his company was committed to working within the allotted time, and assured the people that within the next three weeks he would complete work on the Hohoe hospital area roads.

Mr. Morkli continued that his company had the capacity to construct all the town roads if awarded the contract, and commended the people for the cooperation that the company enjoys, stressing that his outfit would deliver to the satisfaction of the people.

Volta GNATLAS Supports Inmates Of Ho Central Prisons

The Volta Region Coordinator of the Ghana National Association of Teachers Ladies Society (GNATLAS), Nana Yaa Owiafe, says society is committed to promoting the growth and development of women to enable them to act decisively as they contribute their quota to national development.
Nana Yaa Owiafe said her outfit was concerned about issues that affect the growth of women, and as part of GNATLAS programmes in the region, would continue to extend support to women, particularly the less privileged in society, to encourage  them to lead lives that are worthy of emulation as they play their civic roles responsibly.

The GNATLAS Coordinator, who said this when the society presented food items and sanitary materials to the inmates of the female ward at the Ho Central Prisons, noted that the situation in which the inmates found themselves was very unfortunate, and urged them to use their current situation to learn to enable them effectively re-integrate into society when released.

Nana Yaa Owiafe explained that the gesture, which forms part of the International Women’s Day celebration by the Society, was dedicated to tackling problems confronting women in society, particularly on gender violence and discrimination that has the tendency of negatively impacting on the development of women.

The Regional Coordinator of GNATLAS observed that the upkeep of the inmates should be seen as a collective responsibility of all, which ought not to be left in the hands of the government alone. She also urged the inmates to allow the fear of God to dominate their lives, as well as be respectful to the prisons authority to enable them to receive the necessary training that would ensure that they would no longer commit similar offences that brought them to the prisons.

The Officer in Charge at the Ho Female Prisons, Superintendent Grace Allan-Ganyinah, thanked members of GNATLAS in the Volta Region for the gesture, which, she said, was timely, because it would go a long way to help in the upkeep of the inmates, and assured them that the items would be put to good use to serve the intended purpose.

Superintendent Allan-Gnyinah stressed that the inmates needed help, saying the GH¢1.80 a day, being the feeding fee for each of the inmates, is not adequate, therefore, the need for organised groups and organisations to complement the government’s efforts through regular support to the inmates.