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Okyenhene urges govt to develop rural areas

The Okyenhene, Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin, has urged the government to ensure even development of rural Ghana as a long term solution to decongesting the national capital, Accra.

“Everything is in Accra, and therefore scores of people throng the city on a daily basis”, he stated.

Interacting with a delegation led by the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Mr Julius Debrah, at Kyebi last Tuesday, Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin said ” there is a limit to the size of Accra, and how many people it can accommodate.

He expressed regret that the lack of development in other parts of the country had put so much pressure on the capital city such that it was now bursting at the seams, and no longer able to accommodate many people.

Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin, a staunch sanitation campaigner, said it was high time the government prioritised the development of the rest of the country to keep people away from the capital.

He said laws on sanitation had to be vigorously enforced as the level of indiscipline, resulting in the indiscriminate littering and dumping of refuse, had reached a crisis point.

“As we grew  we observed our old folks keep very clean environment. Cleanliness was imbibed in the old folks, even those with low levels of education. But why are we now living in filth,’’ he asked.

He said it was also time to put an end to the blame game so that people who polluted the environment were dealt with according to the sanitation laws.

“It is time we rose above our narrow concerns and embraced concerns of our environment” he stated.

He advised the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) to decentralise the management of solid waste as that was the only way to keep the national capital clean.

The Okyenhene explained that the AMA could for instance allow the various communities to handle their refuse, and since no community would want to be tagged as dirty, people would live up to their responsibility.

He expressed regret that Ghanaians did not seem interested in sanitation issues, as patronage of his cleaner communities initiative was not encouraging.

“We got only Ghc15,000 after  more than one year of the campaign, where people were expected to text to a short code. The ultimate winner was to receive a car, and yet people were not interested, he said.

National Sanitation Day

Mr Debrah visited the Okyehene at his palace in Kyebi to officially invite him to chair the launch of the National Sanitation Day on Friday,  October 24, 2014 to be held in Accra.

The first sanitation day, according to Mr Debrah, would be on Saturday, November 1, this year during which all citizens would be expected to participate.

Members of the Environmental Services Providers Association are ready to quickly clear the garbage and silt as soon as the exercise ends.

The National Sanitation Day, which is already captured in Ghana’s sanitation policy, would be organised every first Saturday of the month.

Mr Debrah said the campaign was being implemented to find a lasting solution to Ghana’s deepening environmental sanitation challenges.

He explained that it was President John Mahama that nominated the Okyehene to chair the programme because of his passion for sanitation issues.

Sanitation campaign

The Okyenhene has spearheaded many sanitation campaigns with the more recent one being the Cleaner Communities Campaign which was launched this year.

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SOURCE: DAILY GRAPHIC

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