Agreement reached on disputed lands at Baatsona in Accra

BY: Issah Mohammed
Mr Ignatius Baffour Awuah (INSET), The Minister of Employment and Labour Relations (MELR), addressing the stakeholders at the meeting.
Mr Ignatius Baffour Awuah (INSET), The Minister of Employment and Labour Relations (MELR), addressing the stakeholders at the meeting.

Encroachers on a 156.184 acre land earmarked for the establishment of a Management and Development Productivity Institute (MDPI) at Baatsona in Accra have agreed to the regularisation of a title deed on the land as a non-penal measure that will grant the occupants a legitimate right to the land.

Report

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This was contained in the report of a 13-man committee tasked to probe the encroachment of the land and presented at a stakeholders meeting in Accra last Thursday.

The report established that the land in question was legally acquired by the government for the MDPI. It also indicated that with the exception of the Nungua Stool, compensations had been duly paid to all affected persons, with the last instalments of payment made in 1981.

The report also identified that court orders were used with dormant suits which afforded the perpetrators time to illegally dispose of or sell the land.


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According to the report the Lands Commission had no right to transfer ownership of lands belonging to the MDPI to the Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA).

Options available to the MDPI in recovering its land, according to the report, included forceful evacuation of encroachers after prior notification of 21 days had been served. There is also an option of confiscation, demolishing or removal of properties belonging to encroachers by the government and the regularisation of title deeds.

Engagement

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The Minister of Employment and Labour Relations (MELR), Mr Ignatius Baffour Awuah, emphasised the importance of stakeholders’ consultation because the government was not interested in displacing its citizens.

“We do not believe in confrontation and we are not going to solve this using a confrontational approach. We would want to engage and that is why we are here to engage you,” he stated.

The minister urged the encroachers to help the ministry find potential buyers for three uncompleted properties of the MDPI which included a theatre, a dormitory block and an administration block.

That, according to him, would help the ministry offset the cost it incurred in putting up those uncompleted structures to reduce the cost of regularising the deed on the lands.

Appeal

For his part, a resident on the disputed land, Mr Edem Asimah, shared his ordeal on how he acquired his land by paying three separate illegal claimants.

He, therefore, pleaded with the ministry to be considerate in deciding on the prices and the mode of payment since most residents were not high income earners.

“I recount buying my land from three persons; and you need to consider the dwindling sources of our incomes as some of us are on pension,” Mr Asimah stated.