The site of the construction
Residents of  North Kanvilli in the Sagnarigu municipality have sent a petition to the Bureau of National Investigation (BNI) Office in Northern Region, inviting it to block the construction of a fuel station in the heart of the neighborhood.
The fuel station is being constructed by the newly elected chairman of the ruling party in the region, Mohammed Bantima Samba.
It is sited on a residential plot within an area designated for the development of dwelling houses only in the approved plan of the area.  Plots of the area have been developed as dwelling houses and occupied over the past ten years.
The plot is at a T- junction and very close to several private and public buildings. Apart the fuel station being setup in the middle of houses, the plot is closer to several public buildings including mosque, hotels, a senior high school and several shops.
Residents protested the siting of the fuel station continuously for four straight months by multiple petitions to the agencies in charge environmental and public safety.
The Environmental Protection Agency(NPA), National Petroleum Authority(NPA), Ghana National Fire Service,  Sagnarigu Municipal Chief Executive, Town and Country Planning and office of the Regional Minister were all petitioned.
Some of the agencies stepped in and investigated. It was established authorities had not even issued permit for development of the said plot into a fuel station and measures were then activated to stop the construction.
Officials of the Sagnarigu municipal Assembly stormed the project site and ordered workers to “stop work” and asked the owners to “produce permit”.
However, residents are intensifying the protest after two underground tanks were buried on the site just this month despite  orders by the municipal authorities that the construction be halted.
All the agencies petitioned by the residents later, in a sudden and strange twist, abandoned Investigations into the matter, forcing the residents to renew protest calling for lasting solution to this impasse.
At a spirited media briefing on Saturday, nervous residents said they had “observed with total disappointment, and noted with grave concern that the construction of the fuel station was ongoing, to the extent that two huge tanks have buried on the plot and construction of a fence wall is in progress, despite their numerous petitions.
The residents repeated their long held concern that siting of a fuel station on the plot threatens the safety of lives and properties.
They are inviting the BNI to investigate and block the construction to safe lives and properties, Mr. Timothy Kipo, a senior resident declared in a prepared speech he presented before reporters.
Mr. Timothy Kipo, described as “unfortunate” the setting up of fuel station in the area.  He said the NPP chairman was abusing his office and had no respect for human life.
He said as a leader, the chairman should instead be leading a crusade against all forms of illegal activities in the region, that they expected him to encourage and supported relevant authorities to stop illegal activities.
The residents announced they would continue stand against the building of fuel station on the said plot and invite stakeholders interested in improving and sustaining the environment as well as protecting lives and properties to also intervene to enforce the rules and regulations governing the siting of fuel stations.
Ghana has recorded eight major gas explosions in three years between 2014 and 2017, leading to the death of more than 250 people and loss of properties. The Northern Region is yet to record any of such major explosions but residents of many suburbs have expressed heightened worry over the construction of LPG stations in residential areas.
The NPP regional chairman responded to the allegations blaming saboteurs of behind the protest. He wondered why residents wanted to seek redress in the media and encouraged them to go to court.
“There are some people who want to sabotage. There are some people who want do their own thing in lfe So when, I mean, people can testify. People can take matter to court, at the end of the day, other people will be a winner, other people will be a loser. So if the cooperate look at it and said this place is suitable for a filling station or suitable for supermarket, those in the area cannot do anything”, chairman Samba told Starr News.
Source: Ghana/ Tanko