CHRAJ investigates alleged human rights violations at Ada over Electrochem lease

Date:

Share:

The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has opened investigations into claims of violation of the rights of some residents of Ada due to the operations of Electrochem Ghana Limited (EGL), a salt-mining company operating in the area.

This follows the completion of a preliminary evaluation of a complaint filed against Electrochem and some state institutions, including the police, by some residents of the coastal community in the Greater Accra Region.

MM8 1 e1714481383158
Benjamin Anim was handcuffed to a hospital bed at Dzodze in 2021 after an alleged scuffle with the police at the Songhor Lagoon.

“The Commission has conducted an initial assessment of the alleged human rights violations contained in the complaint and has admitted the complaint for full-scale investigations,” a letter, signed by Principal Registrar, Daniel Anang Afetsi, said.

Some residents from seven salt mining communities at Ada petitioned CHRAJ in July 2023 to look into alleged human rights abuses levelled against EGL.

MM7 1 e1714481339615
A community elder of Toflokpo near Sege, Babynormuor Anim, was shot in the forehead in December 2022.

There has been a turf war between members of the communities around the Songhor Lagoon and EGL since the government granted a lease to the company in 2020.

While the company insists it has the absolute right to the Songhor Lagoon, members of the communities say the water body and its environs have been theirs for centuries.

MM9 1 e1714481293326
Sampson Agbove allegedly sustained gun wounds during a shooting incident at Salom-Madagber on February 5, 2021

The exchanges have sometimes led to violent clashes between community members and the company’s security guards.

In search of justice and closure, some residents went to CHRAJ to invoke its investigative mandate to look into the issues arising out of the lease agreement between the government and EGL, a subsidiary of the McDan Group, owned by businessman, Daniel McKorley.

The residents say they were energised by Article 218 (c) of the 1992 constitution, which mandates CHRAJ to “investigate complaints concerning practices and actions by persons, private enterprises, and other institutions where those complaints allege violations of fundamental rights and freedoms under this Constitution.”

Ada victim
Bertha Agbovi, then  a 15-year-old schoolgirl was shot in the arm at home during a raid in 2021 at Salom near Sege

The petitioners include a then 15-year-old schoolgirl, Bertha Agbovi, who was hit by a stray bullet at home during an alleged indiscriminate shooting operation during a clash between the residents and the police in 2021.

Victim 3 e1714481139822
Kitiwa Anim, a stool father at Toflokpo, was shot in the chest on December 16, 2022.

Their petition, signed by nine people who described themselves as victims of “Songhor Lagoon brutalities,” alleges “unlawful conduct and evident abuse of policing and power by officers of the [Ghana Police Service] and the task force of [Electrochem Ghana Limited], which constitutes a violation of the fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals in the affected communities and unjust treatment of individuals.”

The petitioners urged CHRAJ to investigate alleged beatings, arrests, detentions, and prosecution of residents who resisted the Songhor Lagoon takeover.

They also want the Commission to investigate all the alleged violence that occurred in the various communities, sanction police officers and individuals who will be found guilty and recommend compensation for the victims.

YOU MAY ALSO READ:

Four bloodied as gunshots add salt to injury in controversial Ada salt mining project

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related articles