The Ghana Institution of Surveyors wants Ghana to immediately begin processes to demarcate its boundary with Togo, to prevent a future litigation that might arise over its maritime boundary.
Ghana just came out of a three-year legal battle with her western neighbor, Ivory Coast, over the ownership of some oil reserves situated around the West Cape Three Point.
This legal battle, the Institution of Surveyors believes could emerge when a natural resource is discovered along the Ghana-Togo boundary.The Surveyors are therefore calling for an early determination of the maritime boundary between the two countries to forestall any future boundary dispute.
Speaking to Citi News, President of the Institution, Edwin Addo Tawiah, said “If we wait and find oil in Keta, which other people I understand are prospecting, there would be a problem, so in this peaceful time, let them come forward so we do it [the demarcation].”
“Even in our district administrative boundaries, people collect revenue and we don’t know which district assembly to be paid to because we have not determined our internal boundaries, and if we go to our international boundary with Togo, Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso, you realize that the one with Togo is described in West…but when you go to the grounds it meanders… it doesn’t follow that straight line. So if we ask neighbours who are from Togo and Ghana, they may help show us the lines then the surveyors will take that meandering line. By so doing, then we could effectively demarcate our boundary, otherwise when we find oil or any other natural resource, it will be a problem,” he added.
The suggestion from the surveyors follows Ghana’s victory at the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), in a case of a maritime boundary dispute with Ivory Coast.
In 2007, Ghana discovered oil and gas in commercial quantities, and this was followed by Cote d’Ivoire staking its claim to portions of the West Cape Three Points.
These claims were renewed in 2010 after Vanco, an oil exploration and production company announced the discovery of oil in the Dzata-1 deepwater-well.
Cote d’Ivoire petitioned the United Nations asking for a completion of the demarcation of its maritime boundary with Ghana, and Ghana responded by setting up of the Ghana Boundary Commission.
This commission was tasked with the responsibility of negotiating with Côte d’Ivoire towards finding a lasting solution to the problem.
But this commission bore no fruit, and in September 2014, Ghana dragged Cote d’Ivoire to ITLOS after 10 failed negotiations.
ITLOS’s first ruling in 2015 placed a moratorium on new projects, with old projects continuing after Cote d’Ivoire filed for preliminary measures and urged the tribunal to suspend all activities on the disputed area until the definitive determination of the case.
The moratorium prevented Tullow Oil from drilling additional 13 wells. Tullow thus drilled eleven  wells in Ghana’s first oil field.
But in its ruling on Saturday, ITLOS in a unanimous decision held that, there has not been any violation on the part of Ghana on Côte d’Ivoire’s maritime boundary.
By: Godwin Akweiteh Allotey/citifmonline.com/Ghana