Independence Arch floodlights destroyed,
Just two weeks after Ghana’s Independence Arch was illuminated, a number of LED lights that were installed at the base of the sculpture have been destroyed.
Information gathered by the Daily Graphic indicated that Zoubeiru Garba, a Nigerien, believed to be in his mid-20s, damaged 10 out of the 22 floodlights.
In Garba’s moment of rage, not even a single light was spared. In view of this, the area around the gates of the Osu Castle and the Accra Sports Stadium side of the Arch had been thrown into darkness.
The Independence Arch, located opposite the Independence Square in Accra, was erected as a symbol to immortalise the era of Ghana’s attainment of independence from colonial rule in 1957 and is considered by many as an architectural masterpiece .
In the past, the Arch was poorly lit and so the lights, set up by Philips West Africa, were to make it look brighter while making it aesthetically pleasing.
Garba, who police say cannot speak English, has been bonded by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) Magistrate’s Court to be of good behaviour for one year or risk a jail term.
The Accra Central Divisional Police Commander, Chief Superintendent Joseph Oklu Gyamera, confirmed the incident to the Daily Graphic. He said Garba was brought to the station by the security personnel who guarded the monument.
“He was sent to the AMA Magistrate’s Court where he pleaded guilty and so was convicted and bonded to be of good behaviour or risk being sentenced to a one-year prison term,” he said.
The Business Development Manager of Philipps West Africa, Mr Benji Ofori, said it was regrettable that security personnel put in charge of the site could not prevent acts of vandalism.
“The Independence Arch is a state asset and it is not understandable why the security officers could not overpower just one person they claimed was mentally deranged,” he added.
The situation with the Independence Arch is just one of many untoward activities that keep Accra in darkness. Hundreds of streetlights in the city are either stolen or simply not maintained.
The situation has become so bad that the Police Administration in November last year, offered a GH¢10, 000 reward for anybody who would provide information leading to the arrest of criminals who damaged streetlights.
Almost all the streetlights on the George Walker Bush Highway have been stolen.
The theft of streetlights on the N1 Highway alone is said to cost the nation about GH¢40,000.
In March last year, unidentified persons removed the solar panels fixed to streetlights on the road in front of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) in Accra. The solar panels were installed as an alternative source of power to electricity in times when there were power cuts.
The installation of the solar panels and cells was a pilot project that was being undertaken by the Department of Urban Roads (DUR) to test the efficacy of using solar energy to power streetlights. The concept was to be replicated in other streets in the capital.
However, in less than a year after installation, the panels have been stolen and the GIMPA stretch of the road has remained in darkness since September last year.
The solar-powered streetlight poles of 40 kilowatts capacity and numbering about 120 were installed at close intervals on the GIMPA Road to light up the rather dark and quiet road from Dzorwulu to the institute.
Ironically, many streetlights across the country are always not put off during day time, despite the energy crisis the country is facing and energy saving efforts that are being undertaken by the Energy Commission to rectify the situation.
The question as to who is responsible for the streetlights in the country has remained a puzzle as the district assemblies and the Electricity Company of Ghana keep pointing fingers at each other.