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26.04.2005 General News

GaDangbes demand return of land to rightful owners

By GNA

Accra, April 26, GNA - Hundreds of GaDangbes on Tuesday embarked on a peaceful demonstration to back their demand for the return of Government acquired lands that were not being used for the purpose for which they were compulsorily taken.

Speaking to newsmen during the demonstration Mr K. B. Asante, President of the GaDangbe Council, called on the Government to return all lands that was not being used by the State for the purpose of its acquisition to the rightful owners.

He said the allodia laws of the country did not allow the State to divert lands it compulsorily acquired for any other project and if it wanted to do that then the owners must be adequately compensated. Mr Asante said private developers had taken over portions of land dotted around the Airport, Trade Fair Area and Labadi with Government's approval.

He said GaDangbes were not against the acquisition of land by the State for the provision of infrastructure and other social facilities but it was important that the rules were observed.

He said acreages of land that were taken over by the use of Legislative Instrument (LI) were being sold for millions of dollars to private investors by the State without any compensation to the owners. Mr Asante noted that the protest had no political undertone and that it was an avenue for the GaDangbes to tell the Government to respect the rights of the traditional authority.

The demonstration, which began at Mantse Agbonaa went through the principal streets of the Accra Metropolis and ended at the Independence Square.

The demonstrators clad in red T-shirt with red bands tied around their heads chanted traditional wars songs and called for the restoration of their land.

They carried placards some which read: "GaDangbes Are Awake"; "No Justice No Peace"; "Respect The Rights Of Indigenes"; "Give Songhor Lands Back To Owners"; "Accra Sports Stadium, Yes, Ohene Djan No" and "Military For Bundase Not Trade Fair".

Others read: "Repeal Act 2, It Is Discriminatory"; "Comply With Act 20 (6)"; "Repeal PNDC Law 287"; "Pay Outstanding Compensations" and "Return UTC Properties".

When the demonstrators reached the Christiansburg Crossroads and wanted to go towards the Osu Castle, the Seat of government, soldiers and the Police prevented them by using water cannons.

The Demonstrators scattered, with some screaming in Ga: "Castle e' wo shekpong woba ya gyen" literally meaning "The Castle land belongs to us, we shall go there".

Calm was restored after the intervention of the Leaders of the demonstration and Senior Security Officers.

The demonstrators re-converged at the Independence Square and the Greater-Accra Regional Police Commander Mr Kofi Boakye told them that the Police was with them so they should maintain the peace.

Traditional authorities, opinion leaders from Osu, Teshie, La and Tema also addressed them before the demonstrators dispersed.

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