Bright Simons, the vice-president of IMANI Africa, has warned that failure by Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) to decommission the Saltpond Oilfield could lead to a major disaster and environmental pollution on scale similar to the kind suffered by Nigeria’s Delta State.

The rig is yet to be decommissioned by the regulator despite many calls by civil society groups in line with the recommendations of a 2018 assessment.

Speaking on Town Hall Talk with Kofi Abotsi on Friday (20 August), Simons described the situation as a ticking time bomb.

“If you leave a field that experts have told you, if you don’t tackle, that field is going to lead to a major blow-up and we’re going to get environmental pollution – fishermen are going to lose their fishes because 150 barrels of oil will pour into the ocean every day – I will call that criminal negligence.

“Well, but it is still quite malicious if you know you have been told this is a potential danger to the people of Cape Coast,” Simons said.

He added: “People are going to lose their livelihoods, the seas are going to be polluted for years. It could lead us to a Delta Nigeria situation of insecurity and instability and [if] you don’t do it, that’s malicious.”