The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr John Peter Amewu, has urged members of the current Lands Commission not to repeat the past mistakes during which government lands were sold to politicians and some selfish individuals in the country to the detriment of the collective good of the nation.
“If I tell you the number of government lands that were sold to politicians and private individuals about six months to the 2016 general election, you will weep for this country,” he stated.
The Lands and Natural Resources Minister stated further that the number of government lands that were sold during the last four years from 2012 to 2016 far outweighed the number of government lands sold in the last 30 years.
“Nana Akufo-Addo as the President of this country will not sit down for government lands to be dished out like “ kelewele,” he stated.
Mr Amewu, who was speaking at the inauguration of the Northern Regional Lands Commission in Tamale last Tuesday, has, therefore, tasked the commission to guard against those tendencies and rather ensure the proper management of public lands and other lands vested in the President by the Constitution for the good of the nation and the people of Ghana.
He noted that in Tamale, government lands were also sold to some private individuals and developers and those in and around the offices of the Northern Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) were being developed. He, therefore, tasked the Regional Lands Commission to revisit the issue.
Mr Amewu, who inaugurated the members of the commission after they had taken the official oath, oath of allegiance and oath of secrecy administered to them by the Tamale Circuit Court Judge, Mr Justice Twumasi Appiah, cautioned the members against selling lands for their private interest or fight for lands for their family and friends.
“I enjoin you to avoid the temptation of being influenced by peddlers and chasing for lands for yourselves, family and friends. The recent past should be a clear lesson for us all,” he emphasised.
Mr Amewu observed that the Northern Region was blessed with large tracts of arable land and water bodies which if nurtured well would help reduce poverty and create jobs in the region, saying that land was key to achieving the several development initiatives outlined by President Akufo-Addo such as the “Planting for Food and Jobs” and the “one-district, one-factory” initiatives.
The Northern Regional Minister, Mr Salifu Saeed, who chaired the inauguration ceremony, called on the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources to help address the numerous land and boundary disputes in the region.
According to him, most traditional authorities did not know the boundaries of their lands which had often led to disputes erupting into violence and, therefore, pleaded with the ministry to help address the issue for peace to prevail for development to take place.
The Chairman of the Northern Regional Lands Commission, Mr Dubik Yakubu Mahama, on behalf of the commission, pledged that they would live up to the expectations and the confidence reposed in them to ensure the management of lands in the region to enhance economic growth and development.