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20.09.2003 General News

Military and Central University College in a tussle over land

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Accra, Sept. 19, GNA - There is tussle between the Military and Central University College (CVC) over the new permanent site of the University in the catchment area of the Kpeshie Lagoon at Teshie.

While Teshie Lenshie Quarters, allodial custodians of the land, welcomes the construction of the University, the Military, one of the future neighbours of the CUC, has objected to the proposal, stating that the new CUC site is part of their training grounds, hence unsafe for massive civilian occupation.

The Teshie Traditional Council it has rather requested Pastor Mensah Otabil's CUC to furnish it with the environmental impact report of the proposed development, for the study and advice of the Teshie Noyaa Kpee, a group of Teshie scholars and development experts. Nii Akpor Adjei, Teshie Shikitele and the Reverend Martey Odonkor represented the Council.

These reactions were expressed at a public hearing in Accra on Friday of the Environmental Impact Assessment of the project, which is about 500 metres from the Kpeshie Lagoon.

Nii Ashiboi Armah, Consultant and Special Advisor to the Lenshie Lands Committee, welcomed the construction of the University at the site. Citing the Land Title Act, Act 165, Nii Armah said the Military could not claim ownership of the land since after 50 years of acquisition, it had failed to pay compensation to the original owners. To him, the Military by their failure to pay the compensation has disclaimed the parcel of land on which the new Central University Campus is to be sited.

Reacting, Colonel Lord Sarfo, Director of Logistics, in Charge of Armed Forces Lands, Burma Camp, said the site was still part of the proposed site for military training and added it was rather the duty of Government to pay for lands it acquired for the Military. He said Government was working out to pay the compensation to the landowners, and it was unsafe, for military reasons, to site a university campus in a military zone.

Colonel Sarfo said the Military is containing the housing units in the area, but warned that the rise in population, as a result of the University in the catchment area, was bound to bring more confrontation between civilians and the Military.

Colonel John Fokuo, Commanding Officer of the Ghana Military Academy, citing an incident in Ikeja Barracks, Lagos, Nigeria, had earlier pointed out that the site was unsuitable because it was less than a kilometre distance, instead of at least three kilometres from a military magazine.

He said the proximity might cause an extensive damage in case of any accidental explosion.

Colonel Fokuo argued that civilians might also suffer collateral damage in times of war as it happened recently in the American war against Iraq, besides the disturbance of noise and other dangers from Military activities.

Both the Military and the CUC, asked each other to relocate, but the Military argued that it could not relocate because of the high cost that it would involve.

On the environmental impact of project, Mr Efui Tamakloe, Development Consultant to the CUC, acknowledged the increase in surface run-off, solid and liquid waste generation, five per cent increment in traffic congestion on the La-Teshie Road, as well as increase in socio-economic activities.

These, he said, had been catered for through mitigation measures such as the construction of secondary drains and provisions of bins. There would also be a construction of a left turning on the lane on the La-Teshie dual lane for vehicles turning into the CUC lane, as well as the creation of a third lane on the CUC bound traffic in the main Teshie-La stream.

Mr Tamakloe said a Joint Management Team of the Kpeshie Lagoon, comprising the Ministry of Works and Housing, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Ghana Wildlife Division, Fisheries, CUC and other partners have been formed to work on how to preserve the Kpeshie Lagoon. Friday's public hearing was in fulfilment of a legal requirement under the EPA Act 490 and LI/625 that states that any development likely to affect the environment on a massive scale should be discussed for its possible impact.

Mr Daniel Amlalo Director of Operations, EPA, said discussions and further comments were opened until the end of this month. Professor Ralph Mills-Tettey, Registrar of the Architects Registration Council of Ghana, who chaired the hearing, described the CUC project as laudable, and said appropriate level consultations should be possible between the Military and the CUC.

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