The Achimota School Land Petition Group (ASLPG), an organisation made up of old students of Achimota School, has appealed to President John Mahama to place a moratorium on all land sales and illegal construction activities on Achimota School lands.
It also urged the President to secure and clearly demarcate all the school lands and investigate all sales and instances of encroachment on the lands.
In a petition to the President and copied to Parliament, the ASLPG appealed to President Mahama and the Attorney-General to initiate the prosecution of all persons and entities engaged in illegal sale and acquisition of the lands and provide full disclosure of all transactions relating to the acquisition.
According to the petition, which was signed by five former students of the school, including Mr Neil-Armstrong Mortagbe and Dr Sodzi Sodzi-Tettey, and presented to Parliament yesterday by Mr Eric Affram, another old student, the school had been battling encroachment of its land by private developers, individuals, business owners and, more recently, some displaced residents of Old Fadama.
It said a significant portion of the school land had been taken over by private developers and others.
"These private developers and other encroachers have, and continue to construct residential and other buildings on land in the Achimota Folly, Achimota School Farm, portions of Achimota land adjoining the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) and on lands that are in close proximity to students’ boarding accommodation on the western compound of the school," it said.
According to the petition, as recently as July 25, 2015 a newspaper reported that a developer had ordered teachers occupying two of the school's staff bungalows to vacate the buildings to enable their demolition and replacement with a private property.
"Clearly, such encroachment and outright theft, especially by the more well-to-do in our country, undermine our nation's capacity to expand educational opportunity for ordinary Ghanaians and enhance the quality of teaching and learning for future generations," it said.
Threat to safety
The petition said apart from the dire consequences on the environment from such indiscriminate encroachment activities, there was the very real threat to the safety of students and other members of the school community and that should be of serious concern to all Ghanaians, whether as parents or simply people who valued the well-being of the youth.
It indicated that in the last few months, four murder cases, countless thefts and significant vandalisation of school property had been recorded.
It said in 2010 when the encroachment caused damage to the school's sanitation system and posed a major threat to the health of students and staff, the old students were compelled to present a petition to the late President John Evans Atta Mills.
Unfortunately, the petition added, the encroachment situation had worsened progressively since then and had seen an escalation in recent times which, if not immediately and decisively checked, would put matters completely out of hand.
"It is not hard to see that if the situation remains unchecked, the resulting chaos will aggravate further the already tremendous risks to life, property and the overall quality of teaching and learning that now characterise the daily experience of students and staff," it said.
The petition called on the President to immediately intervene to halt the "rampant destruction of a globally recognised national asset that continues to be of importance to Ghana as an icon of quality education; a national heritage and resource for the education of current and future generations of young Ghanaians".