A former Minister for Environment, Science and Technology, Mahama Ayariga has challenged cabinet’s directive ordering the immediate cessation of the construction of new gas and fuel stations across the country.
The new directive is “until further notice” as government rolls out safety and regulatory measures to save lives and properties in the wake of the Atomic Junction gas explosion which claimed seven lives.
One hundred and thirty-two people were injured in the explosion, which also destroyed properties running into millions of Ghana Cedis.
After a Cabinet meeting on Thursday following the gas explosion, the government also ordered the “immediate inspection of all gas stations and the vigorous enforcement of existing regulations by the National Petroleum Authority.”
It also asked for a “review of the current licensing regime to ensure that only those with demonstrable capacity and competence engage in the LPG distribution business.”
In his reaction, however, Mr. Ayariga argued that the directives by cabinet are simply unconstitutional, depriving citizens of their rights to acquire properties.
According to him, cabinet usurped its authority in issuing those directives.
“The last one which says that the owners or people who already have permits and are in the process of constructing petrol stations and gas stations should cease, those directives are unconstitutional…because people have acquired rights and based on the rights that they have acquired, the president cannot arbitrarily suspend the enjoyments of those rights without regard to due process,” he told Starr News’ parliamentary correspondent Ibrahim Alhassan.
He continued that: “the president has to show that a law empowers him to do that…Cabinet is an advisory body and as an advisory body, you cannot just go and then direct that all constructions across the country should cease. In the constitution, cabinet’s role is to advise the president on policy matters. So the cabinet’s directives cannot take away peoples rights. It is not [in tandem] with our constitution”.