UCSOND visited five new communities in Jomoro district to hear about the issues they were facing in connection to the blooming Oil and Gas industry. Three issues stood out.
This week representatives from UCSOND visited the five communities: Effasu, Mangyea, Egbazo, Takinta and Kablansuazo, to hear about which issues the community members were facing in relation to the oil and gas industry.
UCSOND is working together with CARE Denmark and CARE Ghana on the Yen Sore-programme in the six coastal areas in Western Region. The objectives of the Yen Sore programme is to educate and help the communities effected by the blooming oil and gas sector, to mobilize and advocate for the issues they have in relation to exploration going on in the district. This was the reason why UCSOND visited the five communities in order to hear about the issues the community members were facing.
All five communities had different problems, but three major issues related to oil and gas, were present in all of them:
1. Loss of land
Many of the community members complained about that their land had been taken away from them without being giving any notice in advance.
» We were not informed and consulted before the oil companies came and took our lands. We did not know that they were going to take our land since the companies had made a deal with the paramount chief without telling us about it before,« said a community member from Egbazo.
» We are no longer allowed to harvest the coconut trees that are still located on the land that we used to own. If we go there to pick the coconuts, we will get arrested,« said a community member from Mangyea.
2. No compensation
Only one of the five communities had received compensation for the land that had been taken from them.
»The compensation we received did not take all the crops that we lost into an account, and the amount we received was too small,« said community member of Effasu.
» GNPC bought the land from us. They counted all the lost coconut trees and promised to give us compensation. Afterwards they have sold the land to Balkan Energy and now no one wants to pay us. Balkan Energy says that it is not their responsibility to pay the compensation since they did not make any promises to the community members. GNPC says that they no longer own the land, so it is therefore not their duty anymore to pay the compensation,« said community member from Mangyea.
All communities asked for more education about the effects that the oil and gas industry would have on the area, but they also called for
» There is a huge amount of young people that are unemployed in our community. Instead of employing the local people, the oil and gas companies choose to employ people from all the big cities like Kumasi and Accra. The youth here cannot even get menial jobs at the big oil and gas companies, « says a community member from Mangyea.
» The government should do more to educate our youth, so that they are able to work in the oil and gas sector. We need more jobopportunities for the members of this community,« says a community member from Egbazo.