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28.03.2006 General News

Landowners harass schools for compensation

By GNA

Accra, March 28, GNA - The Ministry of Education and Sports on Tuesday expressed serious concern about demands by custodians of lands for compensation in respect of school lands, some of which were acquired as far back as the 1920s.

Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, Minister of Education and Sports, said in the case of a particular school the custodian was demanding 384 billion cedis.

Citing instances of schools in the Ashanti Region, Mr Osafo-Maafo said a total of 22 billion cedis was being demanded in compensation in one school, while more than 21 billion cedis was being demanded for another.

Speaking at a press briefing on latest developments in the Education Sector at a press briefing in Accra on Tuesday, he said such demands were widespread and something needed to be done about them. "The court actions and demand for compensation are spread across the country and we are receiving such demands everyday. If the Ministry should pay all such monies, what will be the plight of educational development in the country?" he asked.

"These monies can never be found unless we impose taxes on the ordinary people, who are already over burdened. It may interest you to know that chiefs, who wanted their area developed, gave out their lands and their people benefited from education", Mr Osafo-Maafo said.

The Education Minister expressed grave concern on the encroachment on some school lands mentioning schools such as O'Reilly Secondary, Kaneshie Secondary Technical, Christian Methodist and Nungua Secondary Schools. He said some schools could not move to their permanent sites. Lands for schools such as Accra Teacher Training College; Achimota School; Odorgonor Secondary School in Accra and Osei Kyeretwie; St Lois Training College and Ejisuman Secondary Schools in Ashanti Region had been so seriously encroached upon such that it had become impossible to for any future development.

Mr Osafo-Maafo said the Ministry would insist on a title deed for school lands before it undertook any further development as a way of reducing the land troubles.

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