Kofi Bentil, vice president of IMANI Africa

Vice President of IMANI Africa, Kofi Bentil has critically assessed the impact of the Akosombo Dam spillage, categorizing it as a major failure on the part of the Volta River Authority.

Participating in a panel discussion on the Africa Leadership Initiative West Africa (ALIWA) on Thursday, January 25, Mr Bentil emphasized the need for a thorough examination of the spillage incident to prevent similar occurrences in the future.

According to Bentil, the Akosombo dam spillage cannot be dismissed lightly, considering the evident catastrophic failure that led to flooding, displacing thousands of people.

He pointed out that both the Meteorological Service and the Volta River Authority (VRA) had warning systems in place, raising questions about why the incident occurred despite these precautions.

“The dam does not fail overnight, it fails over many days, the Meteo service was working, and they gave the warnings, VRA itself has better systems than the Meteo systems, by which it can check. So if a dam fails over many days and there are significant warning systems, and there are multiple institutions, and it’s a Volta River Authority and in law, that [Authority] means a lot.”

“We need to ask questions as to why this happened and get to the bottom of why it happened because if the best of our best has failed then what is going on with the rest?” he questioned.

Highlighting the urgency of the situation, Mr Bentil urged Parliament to conduct a thorough probe into the spillage.

He emphasized that the flooding was not a natural disaster but a result of deliberate actions, where someone initiated the release of water, despite the awareness of people downstream, hence calling for an enquiry to unravel what happened.

“This flooding was not natural, somebody pressed the bottom, and opened floodgates, knowing there were people downstream and flooded the place. Yes, you are saying [it was done] to save the dam but how did we get to that point, if the dam broke there would be worse problems, but should we ever get to that point where we have to choose between saving a dam and risking human lives? We need to ask questions and I think Parliament should get into this.”

The discussion was on the theme “Building Resilience: A Socio-Economic Response to Natural Disasters.”