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12.03.2013 Regional News

Tamale Veterans Refuse To Vacate Barracks

By Daily Graphic
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Retired soldiers who have been given an ultimatum to vacate the old Kaladan Barracks say that the relatively short notice given to them and their families to quit the premises is “inhuman”.

In a statement signed by the Chairman of the Veterans Administration, Ghana, Major Mahamadu Alhassan (retd), the retired soldiers contended that the one-month notice to them and their families to find accommodation elsewhere was very “insensitive and inhuman”.

“Only two weeks to the one month will also not solve this daunting problem,” it said.

In a new letter signed by Mr Peter Osei Owusu on behalf of the Northern Regional Lands Officer and dated March 1, 2013, the commission gave the old soldiers “fourteen days, effective March 1, 2013, to vacate the area”.

In an earlier eviction letter dated January 29, 2013 and signed by the Northern Regional Lands Commission Officer, Mr Justice Morgan, the veterans were given 30 days, effective February 1, 2013, to vacate the land.

The statement further observed that the Lands Commission should do “its homework on accommodation problems generally before taking a decision”.

“It was time the Lands Commission started facing realities of poverty presently,” it said, and explained that the Rent Office could also help “in this thorny issue”.

“The veterans and their families say they are waiting to be buried in the debris of their demolished buildings for the Lands Commission to make the money and satisfy those pressing this sensitive issue,” it added.

According to the statement, the veterans were aware that they were “promised a portion of the Kaladan Barracks lands to settle them and they want to know what has become of the promise”.

It said in Accra, Kumasi and Takoradi, veterans had been resettled and Tamale should take a cue from that.

It described as “unacceptable” the Lands Commission's classification of veterans and their families as squatters, considering who owned the land at the time of occupation and the duration of occupation.

The statement stressed that the Kaladan Barracks had been under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Defence since it was established during the First and Second World wars when the Lands Commission was not in existence.

Meanwhile, the Lands Commission maintained that the reason for the eviction was to enable the commission, in collaboration with the Department of Town and Country Planning, the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly and relevant state and traditional institutions, to implement a comprehensive redevelopment scheme on the old Kaladan Barracks.

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