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Somanya: Residents Descend On ECG – Offices Vandalized, Journalists Assaulted

By Rite news desk:

Hundreds of angry residents on Friday besieged the offices of The Electricity Company of Ghana, ECG in Somanya. The action of the residents, who descended on the office in a violent, spontaneous demonstration, was in an attempt to register their protest over what they term ‘high tariffs being charged by the company.’

The demonstration which had been planned for next week by a group calling itself, ‘VOICE OF UNITED KROBO FORCE’ to drum home their demand for a reduction in electricity bills, spontaneously erupted after officials of the ECG were said to have gone to disconnect electricity supply to one of the leaders of the planned demonstration. Disagreements over the said disconnection spontaneously sparked off the demonstration after the said leader announced the actions of the ECG officials through his ‘Communication Center.’ Within a short time, hundreds of aggrieved residents massed up, assaulted the ECG officers and vandalized a vehicle in which they had come.

The mob who were armed with sticks, machetes, stones and other offensive implements, threatened staff of the company, security persons and even journalists.

Aside the residents’ demand for a reduction in the bills, others even demanded that communities close to the Volta Lake be spared the paying of electricity bills since their proximity to the Akosombo Dam could spell doom for them in the event of a major disaster if the dam overflows.

‘No more light bills because if this dam breaks its boundaries today, it is people like us who are going to be affected,’ one resident told Rite news.’

Assembly man for the Gbekomanya Electoral Area, Borti Andrews, also known as ‘Rasta’ who was part of the organizers explained to Rite news that the group’s actions were based on ‘raw deals’ given consumers by the power suppliers. Asked whether the demonstration had the needed police permit, he replied in the negative. He nevertheless justified their actions, arguing that it was a spontaneous reaction from aggrieved consumers.

The demonstrators, clad in red arm bands, marched along the principal streets of Somanya to the ECG offices in Sra, a suburb of Somanya to register their protest. The protestors who had wanted to go into the yard of the ECG to vent their spleen on officials of the company were however prevented by a handful of policemen from the Somanya police command who mounted guard at the entrance. A police vehicle was used by the police to barricade the entrance to prevent the mob from gaining access into the yard.

Stone-throwing young men angered by their failure to break into the premises of the office resorted to pelting the offices of the ECG with stones, an action that resulted in damages and breakages to properties of the company. The angry mob caused extensive damage to proper­ty belonging to the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and for more than two hours, the mob held staff of the company hostage. Journalists covering the demonstration were not spared the wrath of the crowd who assaulted them on the accusation that they took pictures and videos of their illegality without their consent. One policeman also sustained serious head injuries after being pelted with stones.

The ECG personnel who were certain­ly alarmed by the unannounced attack, said the ECG had to call in the police to disperse the angry mob.

Police and military reinforcement were later called from Akuse and the Shai training grounds respectively but it was a little too late as the protestors had already left the premises by the time the reinforcements arrive.

Source: ritefmonline.org

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