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07.06.2007 General News

Addo Kufuor fingered over ‘soldiers land’

By myjoyonline

"…tell Addo Kufuor that he should be honest and stop misleading Ghanaians. If he cannot honour his promise to us, in this small village, I mean for the past two years, how can he be President of the whole country. Addo Kufuor can't be President. He will say things he cannot do and when the media goes to him, he will give reasons that are not true. He has done it to us. He can do it again ..."

That was an excerpt of an observation gathered when The Crusading GUIDE visited Apremdo, a town near Takoradi in the Western Region to interact with members of the seven principal families who own the farmlands that were seized for a military Buffer Zone for the Apremdo 2BN Barracks, without a pesewa being paid to any person.

The people are mostly farmers and, according to them. "depriving them of their farmlands means depriving them of their livelihood".

Their plight was worsened when the soldiers went beyond the buffer zone and seized other lands that the landlords had already sold out to private estate developers.

Some of these private developers after being harassed by the soldiers had no option but to drag to court those from whom they bought the land. Consequently, some of the landlords have faced varying periods of imprisonment and are now bending over backwards to return the money to the estate developers.

After a series of reports on military brutalities meted out to the land owners, any time they visited their farm lands as well as a litany of petitions to the Government, the Defence Minister Dr. Kwame Addo Kufuor was compelled to move down to Apremdo to ascertain the true state of affairs.

The Defence Minister at a meeting with the landowners, the Commanding Officer of the Apremdo Military Barracks, the Western Regional Minister and high profile authorities from the Western Region, said the Government had made a compensation package of One Billion, Five Hundred and Forty Eight Million Cedis (¢1.548.000.000) - 18 million cedis per plot for 86 plots of the said buffer zone - and that the said money was ready for disbursement to the land owners. This assurance was contained in the minutes of the said meeting which was dated 7th March, 2005.

Two years later the money remains unpaid yet the sufferings of the landowners keep increasing. What has angered the land owners now was Dr. Addo Kufuor's comment to the media to the effect that the money had not been paid because the landowners were litigating among themselves and that there was no legitimate person to receive the money.

"It is unfortunate for a Minister and someone who wants to be President to talk this way. It is not true. We are seven principal families, we use the same lawyers and have even formed a committee to help us get the compensation. We have the same spokesperson and the same executive members. We feel insulted by his statement. It makes us sound foolish to the public. We are hurt and deserve an apology unless he can prove where the division lay and who is fighting who", Mr. Stephen Tandor a member of the said Committee told The Crusading Guide last Saturday.

Mr. Nat Panyin, spokesperson for the landowners and chairman of the Committee was completely taken aback by the Minister's comment. He said the seven principal families include Anona, Asona, Ebirateye, Ntwiwa, Akona, Ekusi and Abratuo.

"If he wants to divide us, he should be bold to say so but as at now we are not and he should stop the political talks of which regime seized the lands and pay us our money. Already, the current value has gone to about 25 million cedis per plot and anybody can check from the Land Valuation Board. Our elders are wise people and we will never fight among ourselves over what belongs to us", he posited.

Meanwhile, Dr. Addo Kufuor. in an interview with the Crusading Guide newspaper maintained that the families were and are still divided and that once that division was solved and he was furnished with the names of the people who owned the land he would disburse the money.

Culled from The Crusading Guide