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Ga Traditional Council probes release of portions of Achimota forest to Owoo family

BY: Getrude Ankah Nyavi
Portions of Achimota forest
Portions of Achimota forest

The Ga Traditional Council has set up a committee to probe into the release of portions of the Achimota forest to the Owoo family.

A press statement signed by the Sempe Mantse and Mankralo of Ga Mantse palace, said the committee made up of eminent chiefs and stakeholder will investigate all matters leading to the said release.

“The attention of the Ga Traditional Council has been drawn to news of the release of portions of the Achimota forest to the Owoo family….. A report on the findings and consequent action will be made available to the General public”, it added

The government through the ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, last week declared that some portions of the Achimota Forest in Accra, in the southern periphery close to the N1 highway, handed over to the Owoo Family in 2013 is no longer a forest reserve.

This follows the coming into force of Executive Instrument (E.I.) 144 gazette on behalf of President Nana Ado Danka Akufo-Addo on April 19, 2022 by the sector Minister Samuel Abu Jinapor.

This means effective May 1, 2022, those portions, [361 acres] sections of which had been developed, and had already been granted to the Owoo Family in September 2013 is no longer a forest reserve.

The move however be criticized by a section of the public, thus, calling on the government to take a second look at the decision.

Portion of Achimota Forest handed over to Owoo Family no longer a forest reserve

Background

In 2007, the Owoo Family, the 1927 pre-acquisition owners of the land petitioned the government during the tenure of President John Agyekum Kufuor to release the un-used portions of the forest in the southern periphery to the family in lieu of compensation, which had not been paid over the years since 1927 when the land was acquired by the state.

In 2008, the government agreed to lease the southern periphery of the forest to the family for a period of 99 years.

In 2011, the Owoo Family again petitioned the government during the tenure of President John Evans Atta Mills on the issue and another committee was constituted to look into the petition.

After the government was satisfied with the Owoo family's application, President John Dramani Mahama released the portions in the southern periphery to the family in September 2013.

The government working through the Forestry Commission also decided to convert the forest itself into an Eco-Park.

Therefore the 1930 Instrument which classified the entire area as a forest reserve needed to be amended.

President Akufo-Addo under Executive Instrument 144 on April 19, 2022 therefore lifted the 1927 classification of those portions of the Achimota Forest in the southern periphery as a Forest Reserve.

The EI 144 was published together with the Forests (Achimota Firewood Plantation Forest Reserve) (Amendment) Instrument, 2022 (EI 154).

The EI 144 was to make the peripheral portions of the forest reserve cease to be a forest reserve to ensure a development that was consistent with the area of the forest reserve.


Read the full statement below:

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