Subsequent to Saturday’s gas explosion at Atomic Junction in Accra, government has hit the ground running in a major move to draft a new policy geared towards ending the recurrent explosions and fire outbreaks at fuel stations across the country.
Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia who announced this Sunday morning after visiting the disaster scene, told journalists that discussions on getting a ‘solid’ policy started Saturday, noting government would not entertain any resistance whatsoever from any quarters.
“Discussions were being held last night about the way forward. We wouldn’t pre-empt too many things but some new polices are going to come in and those who will try to resist those new policies, I don’t think they will be listened to because it is important for us to put the safety of our people above everything else,” he said.
A leakage of gas from one of two gas fuel stations in the enclave around the Atomic Junction reportedly sparked fire, which extended to an adjoining Total Filling Station causing two explosions that sent fireballs into the skies.Hundreds of passengers, traders and residents in and around the Atomic Junction area fled their homes and workplaces for safety as the explosions lit the skies and caused severe heat waves.
Electricity supply to most part of the area was cut off as some transformers were affected. Most parts of Accra have since Sunday dawn also gone off but it is not clear whether that is related to the explosion.Amidst the chaos, speeding vehicles, which were also trying to flee the scene, reportedly knocked down some people who were escaping from the scene. Some of the affected are said to have died while others have been injured.
One too many
Vice President Bawumia who Sunday morning visited the site to assess the situation at first hand, described Saturday’s disaster as a “major tragedy” and “one too many”
“This about the eighth explosion Ghana has seen in three years and I think what Ghanaians really want is solid policy to deal with this matter once and for all,” he said and assured of government’s commitment to end the recurring incidence of explosion.
Dr. Bawumia said: “We are going to move to deal with it; it’s not about committees and committees, committees and nothing get done. I think that we owe it to the country that the government is going to take this very seriously”.
He said all industry stakeholders, including the National Petroleum Authority, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Ministry of Energy would be engaged in the drafting of the policy.
“We’re gonna move quite quickly; it’s not gonna be the one that you wait weeks for it to happen. It’s going to happen relatively quickly. We pretty much have an idea what we need to do in terms of policy,” he added.
The Vice President said the need for the new policy is necessary because “I think it is in the interest of the country that we actually implement some new policies.”
He has meanwhile commended personnel of the Ghana National Fire Service and the security agencies for their prompt response to the site Saturday, saying, “we thank them most sincerely”
“On behalf of the President I’d like to extend my condolences to all the bereaved families. Our sympathies to all those who have been injured and affected. In fact all of Ghana have been affected, it’s a major tragedy,” he added.
By Stephen Kwabena Effah|3news.com|Ghana