Awulae Attibrukusu III THE PRESIDENT of the Western Regional House of Chiefs, Awulae Attibrukusu III has taken a swipe at chiefs in the Ahanta Traditional Area who are allegedly leasing out large tracts of lands indiscriminately to people purported to be investing in the oil discovered in the area.
According to him, the House gathered that chiefs in the Ahanta Traditional Area had begun selling lands to people who were rushing to acquire lands in the area because of the oil discovered there, without recourse to the Lands Commission, the Regional House of Chiefs or other appropriate authorities.
He pointed out that those who are rushing for lands in the traditional area were mostly foreigners and were purchasing lands ranging from 400 to 600 acres; purposely for the construction of hotels and other businesses in the Ahanta area.
Awulae Attibrukusu III disclosed this when the regional Minister, Paul Evans Aidoo, paid a courtesy call on him at his office at the House in Sekondi, on Wednesday, to officially introduce himself to the leadership of the House.
Awulae Attibrukusu explained that chiefs were not against people coming to invest in the region but added that it did not mean they should give out lands in their traditional areas to people without going through the proper procedures since chiefs were holding lands in trust for the people and generation yet unborn.
“If care is not taken because of money, we will be slaves on our own land since we are selling all our lands to foreigners to the detriment of the indigenes of the region who will also like to acquire land to invest in their traditional areas,” the regional president of the House stressed.
He attributed the perceived underdevelopment of the region in spite of its numerous natural resources, partly to the attitude of some chiefs in the region who sell lands indiscriminately and misuse royalties.
He indicated that the House had hatched an idea of putting measures in place to take back all lands in the region that had been given out to would-be investors, without passing through the proper channel before acquiring such them.
He advised the regional minister not to meddle, take side or rush in taking decisions on chieftaincy matters in the region if he wanted to sustain the relative peace and unity in the region adding, “there were about 89 chieftaincy disputes in the region when I assumed office as president of the House about four years ago but the number had reduced to 16 as at now”.
Awulae Attibrukusu, who is also the Vice President of the National House of Chiefs, suggested that 60 per cent of the work force in the oil industry should be from the western region and therefore prevailed upon Hon. Aidoo to make human resource development a top priority, so that the youth could be given the needed skills and technical know-how for the oil business.
Hon. Aidoo said the natural resources in the region had become more of a curse rather than a blessing to the indigenes partly because the chiefs sold most of the arable lands to settler farmers who were into cocoa farming and sent their accrued profits to develop areas they hailed from.
He called on the chiefs to do away with the numerous chieftaincy disputes since it could retard the region's development but unite and take advantage of the resources in the region to develop their respective traditional areas.
The regional minister had earlier on paid a courtesy call on Nana Kobina Nketsiah V, Paramount Chief of the Essikado Traditional Area where the chief asked President John Evans Atta Mills to endeavour to honour the government's promise of revamping the railway system.
In his response, the regional minister disclosed that the sector minister would soon be in the region to assess the extent of deterioration of the railway system and tour some of its facilities in order to advise the government on its next line of action.
From Emmanuel Opoku, Sekondi