By Frank Amponsah
A compensation package totaling GH¢1,750,000 is to be paid to the families of the victims of last year’s Asawase shooting incident.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo announced this yesterday, when he delivered a speech at the Zongo for Peace and Development Conference, an initiative of the Ministry of Inner City and Zongo Development.
According to the President, GH¢250,000 for each of the seven families is to be paid to the dependents of the deceased.
He explained that “even though money cannot replace the life of a human being, it is being offered as a way of accepting the responsibility of the State in this tragic affair.”
The President appealed to residents of Asawase and the families of the victims to continue to exercise restraint as the sad, unfortunate matter was being addressed within the confines of the law and due process.
He told the gathering that based on the recommendations of the committee set up to look into the matter, he directed the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to interdict the police personnel involved.
“Processes have been initiated that will result in the prosecution of any police person who is allegedly found to have acted outside the law,” he added, whilst acknowledging that some irresponsible people are exploiting the inevitable gap between the occurrence of the event and its final resolution to instigate residents of Asawase to resort to violence.
President Akufo-Addo therefore urged them to continue to ignore the agent provocateurs and continue to hold the peace, as they have done.
“I assure you that justice will be served. I am determined on it,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, speaking on the theme of the Conference, “Building our Zongo Community through tolerance and peace”, the President noted that good intentions and the desire for development will come to naught if citizens do not strive for peace in their communities.
“That is why Cabinet has endorsed the proposal by the Inner City and Zongo Development Ministry for the activation of ‘Zongo for Peace and Development Initiative. This Conference, the first in the series, is testament to that fact,” he added.
“I live in Nima, and I refuse to accept the “anti-peace, violent” tag associated with residents of Zongos. That is not, and cannot be true. I have lived at peace with my neighbours in Nima for decades, stretching back to the days of the early period of my youth in my father’s house.”
Without peace, the President noted that, Government cannot activate the processes that will lead to an improvement in the living standards of Zongo residents, adding that injustice or a sense of injustice can trigger frustration in people, and result in violence or violent behaviour.
President Akufo-Addo assured that Government will continue to partner Zongo communities in order to bring progress and prosperity to their residents, noting that residents of Zongo communities, in the run-up to independence and up to about a decade after independence, were the natural allies of the Danquah-Dombo-Busia political tradition.
Determined to sign a new pact between the New Patriotic Party and residents of Zongo communities, the President added that “We must not let the toils of Amadu Baba and Othman Lardan, which earned them deportation to Nigeria by Kwame Nkrumah’s CPP government, go to waste. They sought partnership with the Danquah-Dombo-Busia tradition, precisely because they believed that this is the partnership that will bring development to the Zongo communities.”
2019, President Akufo-Addo added, promises to be a good year for development in our Zongo communities.
He said “I urge you to give the Zongo Minister, an ardent champion of the potential of residents of Zongo communities to chart a path of progress and prosperity for themselves, the maximum co-operation and support, so that, together, we shall improve the living conditions of all our people.”