The Republic of Benin, on Monday presented a cheque of $196,627 to Ghana in support of the 2015 June 3 twin disaster that occurred at Kwame Nkrumah Circle.
Mrs Martine Francoise Dossa, Ambassador of Benin, presented the cheque to Mr Muhammed Habib Tijani, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration who in turn, handed over the cheque to Mr Seji Saji, Deputy Director General in charge of Technical and Reforms at NADMO.
The June 3 disaster, which occurred on a Wednesday, started amidst the prowling floods and the raging inferno from the Goil filling station at Kwame Nkrumah Circle, close to the Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB), and burnt many people alive.
In all, over 300 people were directly affected by the tragedy whilst 150 lives were lost and government declared three days of national mourning.
Receiving the cheque at a short ceremony in Accra, Mr Tijani described that disaster as “a thing that we will not want to see again in our lives”.
He said when the disaster occurred, many individuals, organisations and countries including Benin, pledged their support to the Ghanaian people and that was why the gesture by Benin was a very laudable one.
He said the Benin assistance to the disaster victims indicated that “We are one people in Africa and we will always see ourselves as one people”.
He said the relation between Ghana and Benin dated back to the early 1960s with a lot of high-level visits between the two countries, which had continued till today.
He said since the incident occurred, the government through NADMO had made lots of contributions and support to the victims and their families, adding that, the contribution from Benin would go a long way to support the families of the victims.
Mr Tijani thanked the government of Benin on behalf of the government of Ghana for redeeming their pledge in support of the victims of the disaster.
Mrs Dossa said when the disaster occurred in 2015, Benin decided to assist Ghana but due to the electoral campaign in both countries around the end of that year, the government decided to hold unto the pledge until the elections were over.
She said the news of the disaster touched all the people of Benin who were one of Ghana’s closest neighbours and was necessary they came to help.
She emphasized the need for the Ghanaian authorities to ensure that the money goes to the victims to support them.
Mrs Dossa also expressed worry over the Saturday Atomic gas explosion and urged the Ghanaian authorities to put in place measures in place to avert such disasters in the future.
Mr Saji said the disbursement of the donated money from Benin, would involve officers from the Benin Embassy and officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ensure transparency.
He assured that Ghana, through NADMO and its partners were working to prevent future occurrences and also manage disasters when they occur.
A huge cost was encountered by the nation as a result of the twin disaster. Apart from the irreplaceable human lives lost, five houses, including the Goil filling station at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle, suffered various degrees of damage valued at GH¢?1,658,847.00, excluding other properties that suffered minor damages which were not valued.
However, it was only the Goil filling station that was insured.
Seventeen motor vehicles, including a fuel tanker were also burnt beyond repairs and a mini-mart located within the filling station, Bediako Pharmacy and the Honest Chef Restaurant were completely destroyed.
A five-member committee set up by the government and inaugurated on June 16, 2015 to investigate the possible causes of the disaster revealed that the fire was ignited by one Seth Kwesi Ofosu, who did not dispose of properly the butt of a cigarette he was smoking.
The remote cause, however, was the fact that there was a leakage of the fuel tanks at the filling station due to the flood and the fuel had mixed up with the flood water.
The “flooding of Kwame Nkrumah was the remote cause of the fire. The displacement of fuel from the Goil filling station at Kwame Nkrumah Circle was the intermediate cause.
“The dropping of the lit cigarette, stub by Seth Kwesi Ofosu, onto the floating fuel was the ultimate or immediate cause of the fire,” the committee’s report stated.