Expansion of Oyoko High School - Farmers yet to be compensated

BY: Naa Lamiley Bentil
Expansion of Oyoko High School - Farmers yet to be compensated
Expansion of Oyoko High School - Farmers yet to be compensated

Seventy farmers whose farmlands were destroyed to pave the way for the expansion of the Oyoko Methodist Senior High School (OMESS) in the New Juaben Municipality in the Eastern Region are still chasing their compensations after 15 years.

Three of the farmers - Mr Richard Owusu Attim, Nana Adubofour Acheampong and Mr Richard Boateng - said 15 of them had died after waiting for a long time to receive their compensations in order to begin new businesses.

The three visited the Eastern Regional office of the Daily Graphic in Koforidua to express their worry over the delay in getting what was due them.

Farmlands

The total land size of the farms for the 70 farmers was 58 acres but they explained that the agreement was for the government to pay compensation only for their crops planted on the land at the time OMESS took over.


The crops, according to them, were estimated to cost close to GH¢700,000.

A letter from the Regional Land Valuation Board they produced as evidence of their claim stated: "I refer to your letter dated August 12, 2002 and hereby inform you that compensation in respect of the above-stated site had been assessed by the Land Valuation Board in the sum of GH¢706,955,014.00.”

The breakdown of the assessment is as follows: Building - GH¢5,530,000, Crops - GH¢692,197,014, and annual ground rent - GH¢9,228,000.

The letter, signed by the then acting Regional Valuer, Mr Kwabena A. Gyang, did not state when or how the compensation would be paid to the affected farmers.

Nana Adubofour said: "We were assured in 2012 that the initial compensation amount had been revised upward but we are yet to see it.

“Sadly, we have been chasing our money in both Accra and Koforidua but we are yet to receive it and this has negatively affected our finances," he stated.

Out of the 58-acre farm, Nana Adubofour for instance had five acres on which he had planted, among others, cocoa, kola, pear and oil palm.

Mr Owusu Attim had before the clearing planted oil palm, cocoa, kola, plantain etc.

Similarly, Mr Boateng had cultivated cocoa, oil palm and orange.

A document produced by Mr Boateng confirmed that on December 20, 2002, the Land Valuation Board, Koforidua, assessed the types and quantity of crops cleared from his farm.

OMESS concerned

The Headmaster of OMESS, Mr Fred Jones Asante, had written to the chief executive of the New Juaben Municipal Assembly to help in getting the compensation of the affected farmers paid to them.

That letter was written as far back as January 7, 2014, but still none of the farmers has received any form of compensation.

“I wish to appeal through your good offices for action on the expected compensation for indigenes of Oyoko on their crops as per the valuation review letter by the Land Valuation Board of the Lands Commission.

“In fact due to the non-payment situation, many of the farmers are still farming on their previous lands and have trespassed the school compound.

“Recently, the school had to stop some encroachers who claimed they had purchased plots of land from the landowners.

“We hope for an expedited action on this issue,” he stated.