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Fear and misinformation high on Ghana’s oil.   
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Fear and misinformation about the untapped oil dominated the last in a series of public hearings held at Esiama near Nkroful at the weekend.

Most of the individuals who attended the sixth hearing expressed concern about a possible oil spillage, disruption of the normal lives of fishermen and fishmongers, displacement of inhabitants along the coast and excessive demand for employment opportunities.

The hearings formed part of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) mandate before permits are granted for full operations to begin next year.

Similar public hearings have already been organised at Agona Nkwanta, Shama, Takoradi, Half Assini and Nkroful, by the Western Regional Office of the EPA.

Nana Kofi Angbo, Chief of Esiama who spoke on behalf of the chiefs and people said a school that runs oil related courses should be established in the Nzema area to boost the moral of the youth.

“Such a school will encourage our youths to stay at home and upgrade themselves and serve as role models for other younger generations to emulate,” he added.

Nana Angbo noted that the lack of fairness and transparency between the various players and the government within the catchment’s communities could lead to severe tensions, strife and other negative activities.

He charged them to be fair in their recruitment drive, to prevent any marginalisation.

“Nzemas are peaceful and will promote peace, if transparency is allowed in the oil industry,” he stressed.

He reminded the EPA, the media and other stakeholders to ensure that the Environmental Impact Study (EIS) was implemented fully.

Nana Angbo decried the attitude of some individuals especially government officials who connived and deprived Nzemaland of its fair share of development projects and financial assistance.

He appealed to the stakeholders to make substantial financial commitment to the Kwame Nkrumah Educational Trust Fund (KNETF), which was presently dormant due to the lack of resources.

Nana Angbo stressed that the fund when revived could support several youth to pursue skilled education in the oil and other allied fields, for national development.

“Our youths are not lazy and many of them have acquired the requisite skills that could be tapped for use in the oil industry,” he stressed.

Ms. Irene Heatcote, Western Regional Director of the EPA said the forum was to offer the citizenry an opportunity to make additional inputs, before the final permit was granted.

The District Chief Executive for Ellembelle, Mr Daniel Eshun, assured the inhabitants that the government will protect the economic interest of the country and will ensure that the company enjoyed its rights if it operated within the laws.

He appealed to the youth to study oil related courses to enable them secure employment when jobs become operational.

Mr. Eshun reminded the youth to use negotiations and alternative dispute resolution methods to settle any differences, since violence retards progress.

Mr. Kofi Essuon of Tullow assured the community that liaison officers will be recruited and will be in constant touch with communities.

He assured fishermen and fishmongers that their livelihoods will not be affected by the activities at sea, but rather alternative enterprises and businesses will be opened.

He reminded them that when the gas is trapped during the oil drilling, it would be used to power the Osagyefo energy barge at Effasu Mangyea and could also make electricity constantly available to the community.


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