Throughout the year 2017, not much was heard from the Western Region. However, the few events that happened got quite a good number of the over two million population talking.
Nzema chiefs reject Dr. Ben Asante as Ghana Gas CEO
Just when people were about drawing down the curtain on the excitement of NPP’s victory in the 2016 election, and appointments were being dished out, that some Nzema Chiefs declared their displeasure over the selection of Dr. Ben Asante as CEO of Ghana Gas.
Some Ghanaians, including a few prominent Nzemas expressed their displeasure with the chief’s rejection of Dr. Ben Asante; whose technical competence is enormous in the field.
The rejection which was largely based on ethnic considerations fell flat, as the President’s appointee was eventually confirmed and accepted.
Appointment of Charles Bissue as presidential staffer
Stan Xoxe Dogbe, a presidential staffer under President Mahama had then got many Ghanaians talking about how he handled members of the Presidential Press Corps and other related matters. He successfully marketed the position “presidential staffer” and got many persons talking about it.
So when a letter of appointment came for Charles Onuawonto Cromwell Bissue, Western Regional Secretary of the ruling NPP as presidential Staffer, several inhabitants of the region mostly NPP supporters were excited.
Charles Bissue was viewed as one of the hardworking NPP executives in the region.
Five Chinese and five Ghanaians arrested on Ankobra River
Illegal mining was still ravaging havoc to the environment, particularly on the three major rivers in the region; River Pra, Ankobra and Tano.
The Chinese nationals had developed a ship-like vessel in the middle of the Ankobra River which served as the source of raw water for Ghana Water Company Limited for residents in Nzema East Municipal and the Ellembelle Districts.
They were mining in the middle of the River. These 5 Chinese and their five Ghanaian counterparts were arrested and arraigned at a Sekondi High Court. Currently, all of them are on bail as the trial continues.
GHUMCO Gas explosion
On May 9th, the Western Regional capital of Sekondi-Takoradi was rocked with a gas explosion that occurred at about 7:30am that Tuesday.
Over 180 people were injured, but no life was lost. Of the injured, 15 were staff of GHUMCO, 7 were firefighters from the regional fire department, 6 students and many other persons.
The emergency preparedness of the Western Regional Hospital, Effia Nkwanta and other health facilities were tested.
The company is yet to pay any compensation to the victims as had been promised. The company as at December 2017, still owes the Takoradi Government Hospital over Gh10,000.
Wassa Akropong riots
Whist persons affected by the gas explosion were about getting off their sick bed in the region, Wassa Akropong, a town that was yet to come to terms with how illegal mining was taking away its vibrancy, as a Chinese Casino operator in the town Jian Gen Hai, reportedly shot and killed a 30-year old Ghanaian, Nana Boah, during a misunderstanding over payment for a job that had been done for the Chinese national.
The case was transferred to the Takoradi District Court where it was adjourned to 13th December 2017. The case was later adjourned to January 2018, after a plea for bail was not granted.
Splitting Western Region
Another story that got the people of Western Region talking was when the processes to begin a possible split of the Region were commenced by the NPP government.
Consultations by the 9-member commission of enquiry first met petitioners for the split in Accra. It was followed by consultations with the media, the regional house of chiefs and later 6 other engagements in Sekondi Takoradi, Enchi, Wassa Akropong, Adabokrom, Sefwi Wiawso and Bibiani.
Findings from the consultations are yet to be released by the commission, which will approve the split or otherwise.
Shooting of GSTS Student Lawrence Baidoo
Just as the year was ending, a 17-year old final year student of the Ghana Secondary Technical School, who had just finished his Elective Maths paper before the Christmas vacation, Lawrence Baidoo, was shot and killed on Friday evening when Detective Corporal Adjei Shaibu, allegedly mistook him and his four other unarmed friends for armed robbers.
The shot also injured Kobina Dorkpoh, one of the five friends who is hospitalized at the Effia Nkwanta Regional Hospital. The five were attending a musical concert at Shama Junction.
The case is now before the Takoradi District Court which has been adjourned to January 12, 2018.
Meanwhile, counsel for the accused, Edmond Acquaah Arhin, has strangely denied that his client was not around the scene at the time the incident happened.