"Don't Turn State Lands Into Slums" - Deputy Lands Minister Warns
After a press conference to strongly condemn encroachment activities on government-owned land at Mempeasem, a suburb of Accra and also declaring government’s determination to win back the acres of land, The Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Hon.Benito Owusu-Bio paid a working visit to Mpehuasem on Wednesday, 13th July, 2022, to witness for himself the situation at the site.
He told the media that the main purpose of his visit was also to show Ghanaians and the general public, what the activities of the Lands Commission has been in carrying out their mandate, which is to protect government lands and ensure that all developments, expecially on State lands conform to well planned schemes.
In his submission, he pointed out that "State lands must not be left for people to develop and turn into slums. Also we should not sit down for people to just encroach on government-owned lands and take them as their private properties, that should never be the case"
He said most of the development at the site have been done without proper development schemes after sending out a number of notifies to stop erecting such structures, adding that owners of such structures must get them regularized, and those that cannot be regularized will be peaceful ejected to help save the Lands for future use and for posterity.
The Deputy Minister also noted that the Ministry and the Lands Commission is in collaboration with with the Greater Accra Regional Coordinating Council to sanitise and ensure proper administration of Lands in the country.
He noted that the Lands Ministry and all other stakeholders will continue this action of demolition and sanitisation peacefully without any strive, not only in Mempeasem but in the likes of CSIR, Frafraha, Sakumano, Ramsar Site, Diary Farms Amrahia among others.
Responding to the question of compensating the Chiefs in the area who may lay claims to these lands, Hon. Benito disclosed that government through the Lands Commission has in 2019 compensated the Chiefs a second time with 114 acres of land out of a total of 225 acres in the area.
He also clarified that AYNOK Holdings is a legitimate company contracted by the Lands Commission to support them in reclaiming government lands, stressing that "the commission has the constitutional mandate to employ whoever they choose to support them in their line of work and that is why they work with the police, the Military and all those security agencies to help eliminate the illegalities in the system"
Hon. Benito touted that the lands sector has the full backing and approval of the Sector Minister, Hon. Samuel A. Jinapor as he is very much concerned about these land issues and has therefore mandated them to ensure that the right thing is done everywhere.
Hon. Benito went on to caution the public that those who need to buy Lands should visit the Lands Commission and get their Lands registered legally to avoid future implications such as demolition saying that "those who are doing the right thing will be encouraged while those doing the wrong thing will be reprimanded"
Mr. Dadson on his part noted that the Lands Commission have gotten the approval of the Ayawaso West Assembly to begin a properly planned land scheme which will see to the construction of drainage systems and ensure that the area is well layed out.
Mr. Dadson reiterated that those erecting structures in the area should halt all their activities to enable the commission embark on the planning scheme for the proper laying out of area.
He also noted that residents who own completed buildings on the Lands must visit the Lands Commission to own up and regularize the Lands if necessary.
"It will be good if those who have finished and furnished structures to visit the Commission to have them regularized, because when we start rolling out this scheme, even if you have a finished structure and it is in waterways or perhaps the paths designated for roads will be bulldozed off to make way for the road"
Story by: Joshua Kwabena Smith