Defence minister, Dominic Nitiwul, has debunked claims that some prominent persons within government have sanctioned the withdrawal of the military from areas impacted by the Akosombo dam spillage.
According to him, the Ghana Armed Forces is not working in isolation. He noted that the supervising body pertaining to the crisis, which in this particular operation is NADMO, is working hand in hand with the military to help the people affected by the spillage.
“I was a bit surprised for anybody to allude that there’s an order from above – no, not at all. As a minister, I’ve not given any order, my deputy is a member of parliament, he has not given any order, neither has anybody given any order for the military to withdraw from that area.
“The military is to serve the people of Ghana and as long as the people of Ghana have problems, and the services of the military are needed, which I believe will always be needed, the military will serve the people.”Dominic Nitiwul
Explaining the situation, Mr Nitiwul stated that when the incident happened, there had been a prior simulation exercise at Mepe in April this year to prepare for a possible spillage. As such, he explained that the Armed forces, NADMO and VRA recognized there would be a problem like this and had anticipated for it, including conducting a live simulation exercise at Mepe.
“So, the people themselves knew there was a possibility this could happen. So, when it happened, the Armed Forces moved with NADMO and the VRA onto the grounds.
“In fact, the first day honorable MP went to the place, it was actually both NADMO and the Armed Forces that actually carried him to the place to go and assess the place. The Armed Forces has been working there all this while, using the 48-engineering regiment of the Armed Forces.”Dominic Nitiwul
Moreover, Mr Nitiwul revealed that when the President visited the place, he was there with him and ordered the Navy to deploy additional resources not just to Sogakope, but Mepe as well based on the gravity of the matter.
He explained that following this, the Navy declared additional resources to the place.
“But over the last two days, both NADMO and the Armed Forces working on the ground decided that they should re-deploy part of the military to other affected areas, particularly Battor and a few other areas because the Navy had brought in 30 soldiers to be working there plus the 48-engineering regiment. So, that was the decision they took.”Dominic Nitiwul
GAF clarifies withdrawal of military claim
Meanwhile, the Ghana Armed Forces has described as “inaccurate”, claims that personnel have been given ‘orders from above’ to withdraw from Mepe.
It clarified that the Humanitarian Relief Operations (Operation Boafo), being conducted by the Ghana Navy’s Riverine Command and the 48 Engineer Regiment of the Ghana Army is being executed in phases.
As of 22 October 2023, the GAF stated that the situation in Mepe has been brought under considerable control and therefore it became necessary to urgently redeploy some personnel and equipment to other distressed communities around Battor and its environs, which were in dire need of support.
“Following the deployment of additional personnel and equipment to these distressed communities, the operations being conducted have been varied to suit the evolving situation. It must be placed on record that for the purpose of this operation, GAF has established an Emergency Operations Centre which is coordinating all the GAF activities in a harmonized manner in conjunction with NADMO.”GAF
Currently, it stated that personnel of the Naval Riverine Command and the Army’s 48 Engineer Regiment are still deployed and conducting the relief operations (Operation Boafo) in accordance with the exigencies of the situation, at Mepe, Battor, Sogakope, Adidome, Aveyime, New Bakpa, Big Ada, Ada Foah and the surrounding communities.
GAF further noted that these personnel are equipped with 10 Naval Boats and four Engineer Assault Boats to carry out its duties.