The Omanhene of Eastern Nzema, Awulae Amihere Kpanyinli III, says the Ghana National Gas Company (GNGC) gave out money to perform rituals at Atuabo in the Ellembelle District to commence the gas infrastructure project.
Awulae Kpanyinli told the Ghana News News Agency on Thursday at Atuabo that he directed the Tufohene of Anochie to collect the money from the GNGC to purchase the necessary items for the pacification of the deity tree “Hohor” before it was felled by the contractors executing the project.
The Tufohene of Anochie in an interaction with the GNA during a familiarisation visit by the Standing Committee of the Western Regional House of Chiefs at the project site, indicated that the GNGC gave him GH¢21,500 (215 million old cedis) towards the rituals.
Tufohene of Anochie said he bought seven cows, five bags of rice, 10 sheep, five crates of soft drinks, two crates of locally manufactured gin (apeteshie), one castle bridge and other items to perform the rituals.
He said that the chief priestess of the Tohor deity, Mame Kpolakeh, performed the first ritual on Friday, October 12, and the second one on Wednesday October 17, respectively.
He said the blood of the cows and sheep was used for the rituals while the meat was used to prepare delicious meals for the chief priestess, elders and opinion leaders in the community.
When contacted, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the GNGC, Dr. George Sipa-Yankey, confirmed that the GNGC had given some amount of money for rituals to enable the contractors for the gas project, Sinopec, to cut down a huge tree at the project site, which the chief priestess, had warned that if the necessary rituals are not performed, she would not allow it to be cut.
According to the CEO of the GNGC, the chief priestess also dared the Chinese contractors that if “they are men enough” they should cut the tree without performing the rituals adding that since GNGC wanted the project to be completed as scheduled, they negotiated with her for the necessary rituals to be performed.
Dr. Sipa-Yankey said there is another deity tree called “Banzela”, which also has to be cut down but the chief priest had demanded money to perform rituals as that no misfortune would strike the men working on the project.
The CEO of the GNGC noted that” we are in a country where superstition in our traditional set-up is very much respected and important hence the decision to convert the items demanded by the chief priestess into money for the rituals.”