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General News of Tuesday, 28 November 2000

Source: Joy Online

Ada salt miners demonstrate

The Ada Salt Miners Union on Monday staged a peaceful demonstration to back their demand for the opening of the sea water into the Songor Lagoon to enable the indigenous people to commence salt mining.

The seawater, known as brine, has been blocked for about four months now from entering the lagoon due to attempts by the Terkperbiawe and Lomobiawe clans of Ada to take over the Songor Task Force Development Project.

The seawater intake allows the salt to crystallise in the lagoon, which covers over 50 square kilometres and its mining serves as a major source of income for the people. Members of the 10 salt mining co-operatives gathered near the Songor Lagoon at Bonikope, a suburb of Sege in the Damgme East District, chanting: "our livelihood depends on the mining of salt, we shall starve to death if the sea intake is not restored."

They held placards some of which read: "Government help us", "We cannot afford a meal a day," "We peacefully demand seawater into the main lagoon", "We support the Songor management committee" and "Probe the salt looters."

In a resolution read by Mr Ransford Kosi, spokesman for the miners, the protesters said the lack of co-operation between the Lomobiawe and Terkperbiawe clans has resulted in the drying up of the lagoon bringing untold hardships to the members.

"We commend government for reasoning with our chiefs almost all of whom reside in Big Ada and Accra and therefore do not appreciate the hardships their actions have caused those of us who reside around the Songor lagoon.

The resolution said even though government has been able to restore peace and reconstituted the Songor Project Task Force, the seawater must be opened into the lagoon to enable the members acquire their daily bread.

The members criticised the statement by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) calling on the Army Commander to withdraw soldiers after a clash between the Lomobiawe and Terkperbiawe clans. They said the withdrawal of the soldiers could have led to chaos, spilling of blood and loss of lives.

They urged the Serious Fraud Office to investigate the criminal actions of the Lomobiawe group that led to the sale of about 2.9 billion cedis worth of salt and bring them to justice.