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26.03.2004 Regional News

Seven villages demand compensation for UCC acquired lands

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Amamoma (C/R), Mar. 26, GNA- The chiefs, elders and family heads of seven villages within the Cape Coast municipality, whose lands were acquired by the government of the erstwhile Convention People's Party in 1962 for the establishment of the University of Cape Coast (UCC), on Friday, called on the government to pay them "a fair, prompt, reasonable and adequate compensation at recent marketable value for the entire stretch of lands acquired."

The villages, which are claiming ownership of lands acquired for the UCC, are Amamoma, Akotokyir, Kokoado, Kwesi Pra, Kwaprow and Apewosika, which are located very close to the university, and Ankaful, did however, not specify what amount of compensation they want paid. They are also calling on the UCC authorities to curtail threats to pull down structures in the villages and discontinue a legal action it has taken against them, which they describe as a "subtle attempt to dislocate them, on the basis that they are encroachers. Mr Ato Baidoo, spokesman for the chiefs and elders, who made the call at a press conference at Amamoma, claimed that with the exception of the Adwenadze family of Kokoado, which was paid some compensation between 1993/4, no chief or family of any of the other villages, had been given any compensation.

He said the situation, was compounded when the government of the Progress Party, sometime in 1972, by an Executive Instrument (E. I.) 13, "properly" acquired and vested the lands, which cover an area of four and a half square miles, without also paying any compensation to the rightful owners "despite persistent and incessant demands".

Mr Baidoo, who read a five-point resolution adopted by the affected communities, said it is the wish of the chiefs and elders that they are either resettled or their lands re-demarcated, and "in the spirit and letter of Article20 (6) of the 1992 constitution, be reverted to the original owners of the land to promote peace and tranquillity". The resolution regretted that, the acquisition of the lands for the UCC, had resulted in the loss of farm lands to the majority of the people who are farmers, while the UCC offers only a "few employment opportunities" for the affected communities.

When contacted, the Pro-Vice Chancellor of the UCC, Professor Kobina Yankson, denied that the UCC was taking action to displace the villages.

He explained that boundaries were demarcated when the lands were acquired for the UCC, and that some of the chiefs of the seven villages, had crossed boundaries to sell the land acquired for the UCC, on the basis that the villages were growing and that their people needed land to build on.

Prof. Yankson said it was such encroachers, that the UCC was making moves to remove, and not to displace the villages as was being claimed, adding that some of the chiefs have yielded to the UCC's concern about encroachment, by halting the sale of lands across the boundaries.

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