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48-hour ultimatum on CSIR lands: Over 100 structures pulled down

BY: Joshua Bediako Koomson
Some victims of the demolition exercise relocating their belongings. Picture: ERNEST KODZI
Some victims of the demolition exercise relocating their belongings. Picture: ERNEST KODZI

A team of security men detailed from the Greater Accra Regional Security Council (REGSEC) yesterday stormed the Animal Research Institute (ARI) of the Council for Science and Industrial Research (CSIR) to demolish hundreds of illegal structures that have mushroomed within the 200-acre land of the institute.

The security men, from the Ghana Armed Forces, the Ghana Police Service, the Ghana National Fire Service GNFS), the Ghana Immigration Service and a task force from the Adentan Municipal Assembly, moved onto the land around 4 a.m. with five bulldozers and two excavators to raze to the ground all completed and uncompleted buildings, fence walls, building foundations, as well as temporary and makeshift structures.

The demolition followed a 48-hour ultimatum given by the Chairman of the Greater Accra REGSEC, Henry Quartey, at a press conference last Monday.

The exercise, which will last some days, is aimed at reclaiming the 200-acre land for the CSIR-ARI.

When the Daily Graphic team arrived at the place around 9 a.m. yesterday, it observed that about 50 structures had already been pulled down.

Firemen from the GNFS were fully alert with two fire engines, ready to act in case of any fire outbreak.

The exercise was devoid of any confusion, as the encroachers complied and moved out, especially from completed structures, for the team to carry out the demolition exercise.

Those who could not finish evacuating their belongings before the deadline were seen moving them with tricycles, while others had packed theirs and were ready to move them out of the area.

Observations

The Daily Graphic team further observed that there had been massive encroachment on the land, secured through proper legal means to enable the research institution to carry out studies on animals and conduct animal husbandry.

Large portions of a fence that protected the land had been broken down by encroachers, who had put up structures and walls to demarcate plots for themselves.

The encroachers had also broken down portions of a piggery sty, destroyed four cattle kraals and replaced them with building foundations.

It was also observed that the encroachers had built walls and single rooms in front of the hatchery, the meat processing house and the Dairy Processing Unit of the institute, which had blocked access to those facilities by vehicles.

Reclamation

“The 48 hours elapsed this morning. The REGSEC is here and it is doing its best to secure the land within the 200-acre perimeter that has been fenced,” Mr Quartey said.

After securing the place, the Greater Accra Regional Minister said, the land would be handed over to the CSIR-ARI to decide what it wanted to do with it.

He further directed all homeowners living on portions of land belonging to the ARI to quickly meet with the REGSEC to regularise their building documents or risk ejection.

“That will be like a relief for those who have lived on other parts of the lands belonging to the ARI for many years and not knowing what their fate is. We will make strong recommendations for them to be able to regularise their documents,” he said.

“We are not securing this land to share it. It is the property of the CSIR-ARI and only that institution has the locus to decide what to do with the land,” he added.

The government, under Executive Instrument (E.I. 38) in 1976, established the CSIR-ARI on and assigned it over a 1,000-acre land at Adentan-Frafraha, with a mandate to conduct research into the development and transfer of livestock and poultry technologies to communities, farmer groups, private and public organisations.

This was to ensure the long-term food security of the nation.

When the land was acquired by the government, all owners, including the original owners at Berekuso in the Akuapem District, were compensated.

However, over the years, some unscrupulous persons have made it a habit of selling portions of the land.

In 2014, as part of efforts to retrieve the encroached lands, the CSIR-ARI went to court and obtained a Writ of Possession in an attempt to evict encroachers from the land. However, the exercise failed to materialise.

In an attempt to stop further encroachment, the institute, in 2017, acquired a loan to fence off the remaining 200-acre portion of the land, but currently, large portions of the fence have been broken down by encroachers.