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After Cote d’Ivoire, let’s turn to Togo

BY: Daily Graphic
Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire reading the joint press statement after the judgement
Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire reading the joint press statement after the judgement

Over the weekend, many Ghanaians waited with bated breath for the outcome of the long-standing boundary dispute between Ghana and its western neighbour, Cote d’Ivoire.

Eventually, the verdict went in our favour, calming nerves and rekindling hope in a people who had sat on tenterhooks for many years.

The Special Chamber of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) constituted to hear the dispute unanimously declared that Ghana had not violated Cote d’Ivoire’s sovereign rights with Ghana’s oil exploration activities.

It also held that Ghana was not financially obligated to Cote d’Ivoire with respect to those activities to give rise to the issue of reparation (compensation).

The tribunal further rejected Cote d’Ivoire’s claim that Ghana had disobeyed the court’s April 25, 2015 preliminary orders which directed that new wells should not be drilled in the disputed area.

The verdict is not only refreshing but very welcome because of its impact on our quest to accelerate the pace of development in the country, while ensuring economic prosperity for all.

The news could also not have come at a better time when the government has banked its hopes on revenue from natural resources to fund the Free Senior High School (SHS) policy which has seen many parents make some savings because they do not have to pay fees at that level for their children.

We have seen many countries rely on oil and gas resources to develop. It is true that our oil reserves are in small quantities, compared with what countries such as Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea have.

However, the Jubilee Partners are of the view that with some intensity, Ghana is likely to discover some more oil.

While we congratulate the citizens of Ghana on their show of solidarity, we want to urge the government to put measures in place to plug all the loopholes to prevent the seepage of funds from the sale of oil.

We believe that the best way to reward the people for their show of support is for the government to ensure that all the money accruing from oil is properly accounted for and used on projects that will transform the economy.

The Daily Graphic would also want to add its voice to calls on the government to initiate moves to settle the boundary dispute between Ghana and Togo before any funds are sunk into oil exploration in the Voltarian Basin.

We have learnt about the intentions of Togo to seek legal redress over the boundary and that should serve as a warning for us to do what is right.

Many oil companies have shown interest in the area because of the potential it holds and, therefore, we should not be blinded by the revenue we will make now but consider the future implications by ensuring that we do what is right to have the boundary in our favour.

We wish also to congratulate the Ghanaian legal team, ably led by the former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mrs Marietta Brew-Oppong and her successor, Madam Gloria Akuffo, and all who played diverse roles in the case on the tireless efforts they put in to get justice for Ghana.