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13.10.2002 General News

70 Settler farmers appeal to President

By gna
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SEVENTY settler farmers at Dadieso in the Aowin-Suaman District of the Western Region, whose farms have been forcibly seized from them by the Omanhene of the Dadieso Traditional Area, Nana Odeneho Brentuo IV, have appealed to the President to help them get back the farms.

The farmers, most of whom are from the Brong Ahafo Region were allegdly chased out of the farms by the youth of the area who wielded deadly weapons such as guns, cutlasses and clubs and catapults on the orders of Odeneho Brentuo in March, this year.

Mr Andrews Kofi Buor, a spokesman for the farmers, told a press conference in Sunyani that, the situation has compelled them to withdraw their wards from schools. He said the farmers being law-abiding citizens, legally acquired the forest lands from the former Omanhene of the area, Nana Atta Kwasi Brentuo II in 1995 on "Abunu" basis. Mr Buor stated that after years of sweat and toil, the new Omanhene, Odeneho Brentuo held a meeting with the settler farmers in March, this year, only to order them to vacate the land immediately in their own safety.

The new Omanhene told the farmers that he had won a long-standing chieftaincy dispute, so he had nothing to do with the settler farmers and they should therefore quit the farms.

According to Mr Buor, the problems started in November, last year, when the queenmother of the area died and her funeral was slated for January 31, this year. He said during the week-long funeral rites, fighting broke out among the mourners and this incensed the new Omanhene to meet the settler farmers on March 4, to reclaim their farms.

Mr Buor stated that the settler farmers made several attempts through the Brong Ahafo Regional chief farmer to negotiate with Odeneho Brentuo and his elders but to no avail.

He said the M.P. for Jaman and Deputy Minister of Environment, Mrs Anna Nyamekye, and the Jama District Chief Executive also intervened on behalf of the farmers but their efforts also proved futile.

Mr Buor noted with regret that " we have become foreigners in our own country, while we cry over the ejection of white settler farmers in Zimbabwe, the same scenario is unfolding in our backyard, while we keep mute". He was, however, grateful to the Western Regional Minister for the assistance he had given to them since their problems started.

Mr Buor expressed the hope that considering the seriousness of the matter, it is only the President who can save them from their predicament.

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