Workers of the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research Animal Research Institute (CSIR-ARI) say they are living in fear as a result of threats from land guards supposedly rented by some private developers who are said to have illegally acquired portions of the land of the institute.
The Director-General of the CSIR, Professor Paul P. Bosu, made the disclosure in Accra yesterday when he led a team from the institute to inspect some of the lands acquired by the state at Frafraha in Accra for the purposes of animal research decades ago.
“Let no one be deceived that any part of our lands can be taken illegally. We are warning those buying the lands to desist from the practice or have themselves to blame,” he warned.
Describing the issue as a disturbing one, he said despite the warning notices, the trespassers always came with land guards brandishing knives, guns and other weapons.
“Physical attacks are on the increase, with several staff wounded by these encroachers on the land. So we have come here to see for ourselves and assure our staff that action will soon be taken to ensure that our lands are secured for research and development,” he said.
Indeed, even during the inspection, masons were on the land building a concrete block wall, while others took to their heels when they saw the CSIR team approaching.
A man, who initially appeared to be part of the construction activities, told officials of the CSIR that he had only come to the site with his cattle to graze since the area was reserved for animal research.
There was, however, no sight of cattle at the time of the visit.
The Director of the CSIR-ARI, Dr Ebenezer Ansa, said his outfit has faced encroachment on its land over the years since its acquisition by an Executive Instrument.
He said encroachers had since occupied 800 acres belonging to the institute, leaving just 200 acres for the institute.
“All attempts to get the encroachers to stop their illegal and criminal activities have yielded little results. Instead, they threaten the lives of our workers and interfere with their work.
“Frequent interventions by the police often result in the disappearance of the land guards for some hours, only for them to resurface immediately the police leave,” Dr Ansa said.
He said as part of measures to recover the land, his outfit gave a 21-day notice on December 9, 2021, through notices at portions of the structures owned by the said encroachers.
The action has, however, yielded no result.
Dr Ansa said going forward, the institute would collaborate with state agencies and the Adentan Municipal Assembly to retrieve the lands.