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26.07.2005 Regional News

Disunity among chiefs thwarts Government's land de-acquisition process

GNA

Accra, July 26, GNA - Government has reverted more than 450 hectares previous governments acquired from Traditional Rulers and Families without paying compensation and for which it has no immediate use to their original owners.

Sheikh Ibrahim Codjoe Quaye, Greater Accra Regional Minister, said the Committee established to see to the reversion of lands processed more than a dozen cases a week, but the lack of unity among some Chiefs, Stools and Families posed difficulties to the Government in that exercise.

Speaking at day's workshop on Land Management and Conflict Resolution for traditional rulers in the Greater Accra Region, Sheikh Quaye appealed to Chiefs, Stool Elders and Family Heads to unite to enable the Executive to fulfil its land de-acquisition process. The Council of State, under the auspices of the National Governance Programme with sponsorship from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), organised the workshop for the Traditional Rulers to afford them the opportunity to define what they deemed the problems of land management and to propose solutions.

They would also discuss the sources of the conflicts and steps that could be taken to reduce them. Sheikh Quaye stated that land problems were universal because of the greater rise in population against the fixed supply of land and had become a source of great concern to both traditional and governmental authorities.

"The scramble [for land] has come with various problems. These include boundary disputes, unauthorised development, multiple sales of land, impersonation, chieftaincy disputes and recently the issue of Land-guards," the Regional Minister said. The influx of people to the national capital, Accra, in search of jobs or to take advantage of the numerous facilities available has aggravated the land management problem in the Region. Sheikh Quaye said despite efforts such as the Stool Lands Boundary Demarcation Committee and the Land Title Registry and the provision on Land Administration under the Local Government Act, Act 462, problems still existed.

He expressed the hope that the operation of the Land Administration Project would be the panacea to the land management problem. Nene Tetteh Otu, President of the Regional House of Chiefs, outlined the competing uses of land for mining and hotel development by investors, meeting places for religious organisations, hospitals and schools and residences, and also for agricultural uses. He said the chiefs should manage the land efficiently to meet the demands of the people and reserve portions for the next generations, explaining that proper management would enable the traditional authorities to earn more revenue for development. Professor Daniel Adzei Bekoe, Chairman of the Council of State, who chaired the workshop, registered the Council's appreciation to the interest of the chiefs in finding amicable solutions to problems of the Greater Accra Region.

He said the workshop would also discuss the role chiefs were expected to play to minimise, manage and resolve conflicts. 26 July 05

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