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03.10.2019 General News

Axim Chiefs urge government to disregard Nsein Chief's plans to halt Axim Fishing Harbour

Axim Chiefs urge government to disregard Nsein Chief's plans to halt Axim Fishing Harbour
OCT 3, 2019 GENERAL NEWS

The chiefs and people of Lower and Upper Axim Traditional Councils in Nzema East Municipality of Western Region have called on the Akufo-Addo-led government to go ahead and construct the Fishing Harbour at Axim.

President Akufo-Addo on Wednesday, July 24, 2019 cut sod for the construction of a multi-billion cedis Fishing Harbour at Axim to improve the fishing industry.

But the project has been halted due to a litigation between the Lower/Upper Axim Traditional Councils and Nsein Traditional Council.

The Nsein Traditional Council is claiming ownership of the land demarcated for the project and Lower/Upper Axim Traditional Councils also claiming ownership.

This litigation has prevented the Chinese contractor from executing the project as expected.

Speaking at a press conference organised by the Lower and Upper Axim Traditional Councils on Tuesday, October 1, 2019, Awulae Attibrikusu III, the Paramount Chief of Lower Axim Traditional Council described the move by the Paramount Chief of Nsein Traditional Council, Awulae Agyefi Kwame II to halt the project as unfortunate.

According to Awulae Attibrikusu III, the Paramount Chief of Nsein Traditional Council gave a hint during the climax of his 2019 Kundum festival, that the Government should halt the construction of the fishing harbour (mini harbour).

Awulae Attibrikusu III said the project was a very viable economic project which would be beneficial to Axim and all surrounding communities including Nsein if completed.

"The attention of we, the people of Lower and Upper Axim Traditional Areas have been drawn to comments/statement allegedly made by AWULAE AGYEFI KWAME, Omanhene of Nsein Traditional Area in a speech delivered at a durbar of Chiefs and people of Nsein as part of the celebration of their annual Kundum festival on 21/9/19.

Awulae Agyefi Kwame in the said speech purportedly laid false claims to lands situated at Axim namely;

1. The land on which the Fort St. Antonio stands
2. The lands on which the mini harbour project is being constructed

3. The stool of Awuza", he added.
"He also, in the said speech, invited the Government to halt the construction of the mini harbour, a very viable economic project which would be beneficial to Axim and all the surrounding towns and villages including Nsein itself upon its completion" he claimed.

The two Traditional Councils found the comments made by the Nsein Traditional Council as distasteful.

"We, the Chiefs and people of Axim find the said comments/statements distasteful and unfortunate. The said comments, no doubt were actuated by malice, considering the forum in which Nana Nsein chose to make them" he condemned the utterances.

Awulae Attibrikusu III disclosed that "Reference was made by Nana Nsein to the particular case of Nana Ohene Atta III and ORS Vs Western Regional House of Chiefs and ORS as one of the basis for the illegitimate claim by Nsein to Awuza stool lands. Unfortunately, and with due respect to Nana Nsein, he misrepresented the facts of that matter. The judgement of the High Court in the said Nana Ohene Atta III and ORS Vs Western Regional House of Chiefs and ORS, was set aside by the Court of Appeal, Accra in its judgement dated 22nd February, 1989 in Civil Appeal No. 64/87 with costs of GHC25,000.00. Nsein paid the said costs of GHC25,000.00".

"In pursuance of the Court of Appeal's judgement, the Regional Security Committee of the Western Region met and deliberated on the judgement, and on whose instruction, the then PNDC Regional Secretary J. R. E Amenlemah wrote a letter dated 17/7/89 copied to Nana Agyefi Kwame II of Nsein Traditional Area and Nana Attibrikusu III Omanhene of Lower Axim Traditional Area to instruct the two Paramount Chiefs to restrict the celebration of their annual Kundum festival to their respective Traditional Areas", he continued.

He stated that the land on which the fishing/mini harbour is supposed to be situated on, was Lower Axim Traditional Council's land and for that matter nothing can't stop the government to embark on the project.

"The land on which the mini harbour project is intended to be constructed is Awuza stool land and ultimately Lower Axim stool land, which the Awuza stool serves. The mini harbour project land cannot by any stretch of the law or of the imagination be said to be Nsein stool lands", he emphasized.

He, therefore seized the opportunity to charge the Nsein Paramount Chief, Awulae Agyefi Kwame II to stop intimidating the Member of Parliament for the area, Hon. Catherine Afeku for selling lands to some Chiefs in the area.

He called on his people to rally behind Catherine Afeku to fight for more developmental projects for Axim and the entire Constituency.

"The matters as herein above stated, were convincingly articulated by our lawyer in response to a letter written by lawyers for Nsein to the Hon. Catherine Afeku. We least expected the current trend of event as it was our hope and belief that the letter from lawyers put a closure to this matter. We deem it unfortunate therefore for Nana Nsein to attempt to intimidate or vilify the Hon. Catherine Afeku, who is the MP of the area, in an attempt to frustrate her or indeed any other public Officer from pursuing the mini harbour project", he said.

He encouraged President Akufo-Addo "We, at this juncture make a passionate appeal to H.E The President of the Republic of Ghana not to be dissuaded but to and other well meaning persons who have the development of Lower/Upper Axim at heart, so the project would see the light of the day".

Awulae Attibrikusu III made it clear that Chiefs are supposed to fight for developments for their areas then to engage in land litigation.

"It is high time Chiefs stop unnecessary litigation that hinder development. Our primary duty as Chiefs should be the welfare of our people. How to bring Social and economic development to our respective areas in an effort to eradicate poverty. Rather than sow the seeds of division and confusion, we should endeavour to unite the people of not only within our areas but to cut across other traditional areas in order to ensure social cohesion which is germane for overall national development", he said

He stressed that "On basis of the foregoing, we respectively invite the Government and the general public to disregard the false claims made by AWULAE AGYEFI KWAME. We further invite all and sundry to lend their support to the mini harbour project which potentially is s catalyst for the rapid economic development of the Lower/Upper Axim Traditional Areas".

Speaking to the media after the press conference, the occupant of the Awuza family stool of Lower Axim Traditional Council, Nana Awuza III, the chief of Otupai said "The claim of Awulae Agyefi Kwame II that Awuza stool and its land is under his authority is not true and so therefore, the family is asking the general public to disregard that falsehood".

He continued that "The Awuza family stool has no connection whatsoever with the Nsein Traditional Council since time immemorial and the said Council had no right to determine what goes on with our family land".

Nana Awuza III therefore stated that his family is not under authority of Nsein Traditional Council.

He disclosed that "Nsein Traditional Council and the current President started litigation with my Awuza family from 24th March, 1968 to date, the current lost for him which he claimed he has made appeal was ruled on the 3rd of July, 2019, so therefore the claim of Awulae Agyefi Kwame that Hon. Catherine Afeku and the MCE are giving land to Lower Axim Traditional Council is again not true".

He added that "Otupai litigation is old enough to blame on MP and MCE. The Otupai land is for my Awuza family and no order person have the right to claim ownership or negotiate on the land without the consent of the present occupant of the stool".

He, therefore concluded by throwing their support behind the government to go on to embark on the project. "Mr President, Hon. Minister for Fisheries, Hon. Catherine Afeku, Mr. MCE, my Awuza Family is ready to cooperate in negotiation and pledge our support to ensure that the proposed project is executed. For Axim has suffered enough of this unproductive litigations".

Read the full statement below
RE: COMMENTS BY AWULAE AGYEFI KWAME, OMANHENE OF NSEIN TRADITIONAL AREA DURING A SPEECH DELIVERED AT A DURBAR OF CHIEFS AND PEOPLE DURING THE CELEBRATION OF THEIR ANNUAL KUNDUM FESTIVAL AT NSEIN

The attention of we, the people of Lower and Upper Axim Traditional Areas have been drawn to comments/statement allegedly made by AWULAE AGYEFI KWAME, Omanhene of Nsein Traditional Area in a speech delivered at a durbar of Chiefs and people of Nsein as part of the celebration of their annual Kundum festival on 21/9/19.

Awulae Agyefi Kwame in the said speech purportedly laid false claims to lands situate at Axim namely;

1. The land on which the Fort St. Antonio stands
2. The lands on which the mini harbour project is being constructed

3. The stool of Awuza
He also, in the said speech, invited the Government to halt the construction of the mini harbour, a very viable economic project which would be beneficial to Axim and all the surrounding towns and villages including Nsein itself upon its completion.

We, the Chiefs and people of Axim find the said comments/statements distasteful and unfortunate. The said comments, no doubt were actuated by malice, considering the forum in which Nana Nsein chose to make them.

One would expected that if Nana Nsein haboured any grievances he would have ventilated them in the appropriate legal fora. As it is, we are duty bound to put matters straight as we proceed to do.

To start with, the claim by Nana Nsein are without any factual or legal basis. It will interest you to know that there are numerous judicial decisions declaring Awuza stool lands or Otupai lands as falling within the province of Lower Axim Traditional Area and Nsein Traditional Area. Such as for example;

1. Judgement dated 24/6/1968 in suit entitled Nsein Traditional Council Vs Konneh

2. Judgement dated 4/5/1971 in suit entitled Tufuhene James Kainyah of Asanta Vs Kwasi Dankwa and Another

3. Judgement dated 8/5/1973 in suit entitled Nana Avinli Kaku II Vs Alemua and Ano

4. Judgement dated 18/01/1979 in suit entitled J. A Wangala Vs Madam Amenlemah and Ano.

Reference was made by Nana Nsein to the particular case of Nana Ohene Atta III and ORS Vs Western Regional House of Chiefs and ORS as one of the basis for the illegitimate claim by Nsein to Awuza stool lands. Unfortunately, and with due respect to Nana Nsein, he misrepresented the facts of that matter. The judgement of the High Court in the said Nana Ohene Atta III and ORS Vs Western Regional House of Chiefs and ORS, was set aside by the Court of Appeal, Accra in its judge dated 22nd febri, 1989 in Civil Appeal No. 64/87 with costs of GHC25,000.00. Nsein paid the said costs of GHC25,000.00.

In pursuance of the Court of Appeal's judgement, the Regional Security Committee of the Western Region met and deliberated on the judgement, and on whose instruction, the then PNDC Regional Secretary J. R. E Amenlemah wrote a letter dated 17/7/89 copied to Nana Agyefi Kwame II of Nsein Traditional Area and Nana Attibrikusu III Omanhene of Lower Axim Traditional Area to instruct the two Paramount Chiefs to restrict the celebration of their annual Kundum festival to their respective Traditional Areas.

The land on which the Castle stands, as well as the adjoining Victoria land, belongs to the Majoley Family of Upper Axim. And there are historical documents in support. It was in their capacity as owners that the Victoria Park land as an "open space" for public use, and the transaction was documented. The land on which the mini harbour project is intended to be constructed is Awuza stool land and ultimately Lower Axim stool land, which the Awuza stool serves. The mini harbour project land cannot by any stretch of the law or of the imagination be said to be Nsein stool lands.

The matters as hereinabove stated were convincingly articulated by our lawyer in response to a letter written by lawyers for Nsein to the Hon. Catherine Afeku. We least expected the current trend of event as if was our hope and belief that the letter from lawyers put a closure to this matter. We deem it unfortunate therefore for Nana Nsein to attempt to intimidate or vilify the Hon. Catherine Afeku, who is the MP if the area, in an attempt to frustrate her or indeed any other public Officer from pursuing the mini harbour project. We, at this juncture make a passionate appeal to H.E The President of the Republic of Ghana not to be dissuaded but to and other well meaning persons who have the development of Lower/Upper Axim at heart, so the project would see the light of the day.

It is noted that Nana Nsein in his said comments/statements made reference to a suit pending before the Judicial Committee of the Western Region House of Chiefs for determination. This is true. We would prefer not to comment on the suit so as not to prejudice it's deterioration. We nevertheless wish to state that the writ was only in an attempt to undermine a mandamus application brought by Nana Awuza to compel his name to be entered in the National Register of Chiefs. The attempt failed as the application for mandamus was granted.

Finally, we wish to express our regret once more, with the way and manner Awulae Agyefi Kwame, who is privy to all the matters hereinabove stated and more close a public forum such as his durbar to make his unsubstantiated claims. If Nana Nsein considers that the he a legitimate claim, the best thing for him to do is to test to do is to test the same in court of competent jurisdiction rather than the forum he chose.

On basis of the foregoing we respectively invite the Government and the general public to disregard the false claims made by AWULAE AGYEFI KWAME. We further invite all and sundry to lend their support to the mini harbour project which potentially is s catalyst for the rapid economic development if the Lower/Upper Axim Traditional Areas.

It is high time Chiefs stop unnecessary litigation that hinder development. Our primary duty as Chiefs should be the welfare of our people. How to bring Social and economic development to our respective areas in an effort to eradicate poverty. Rather than sow the seeds of division and confusion, we should endeavour to unite the peoples of not only within our areas but to cut across to other traditional areas in order to ensure Social cohesion which is germane for overall national development.

Issued by;
The Chiefs and People of Lower/Upper Axim Traditional Areas

Source: Daniel Kaku

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