CSIR accuses two institutions of encroaching on research lands

Prof Kignsford Adaboh (second from left) with other council members speaking at the press conference

Prof Kignsford Adaboh (second from left) with other council members speaking at the press conference

Two institutions have been accused of destroying research lands at Pokuase in Accra under the pretext of building affordable housing.

The accused, the Ministry of Works and Housing and the Ga West Municipal Assembly, particularly the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), Clement Wilkinson, are said to be perpetrating the encroachment of 40 hectares out of the 144 hectares land given to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research Ghana (CSIR) for research purposes.

 

According to Professor Robert Kingsford Adabor, Chairman of CSIR Council, the activities by the Ministry and the Assembly, particularly the MCE has resulted in the destruction of planting materials including rare species of specially cultivated forage valued at US$2 million.

 

Addressing a press conference in Accra yesterday to raise concerns about widespread encroachment of CSIR lands meant for research purposes across the country, he said currently, cattle belonging to CSIR’s Animal Research Institute have been rendered shelterless as their kraals have been demolished by the bulldozers operating on the land.

 

He said the assault on the CSIR lands was also extended to staff of CSIR who moved to the land to ascertain the level of destruction with some still undergoing medical treatment.

 

Enumerating research activities on the Pokuase land, he stated that it was presently for the conservation of the N’dama cattle which has the tolerant gene against the trypanosomiasis, hosting the only sub-station for the pasture museum in the country, source of planting materials to the National Committee on Cattle Ranching set up by the President to find solution to the cattle herder-crop farmer conflicts and serves as one of the few stations that produce pasture seed in the country.

 

Professor Adabor said the station was conducting research into poultry specifically domestic chicken, ducks, turkeys and grasscutters, among others adding that the station was also in collaboration with Agri-food Canada in undertaking trials for improved pasture materials for livestock.

 

He explained that conversion of the land into a housing project and sand winning site was impeding the mandate of CDIR to spearhead scientific research as an engine of growth.

 

“As a state land, we know the government can decide to use the land for any other purpose apart from research. But before a land is set aside as a research station, it usually goes through a lot of testing to ensure it is suitable for that research purpose. This Pokuase land has gone through that process and it is currently being used for several research activities including trials of PhD students. The illegal activities currently ongoing on the land have led to the destruction of international projects, pasture and other research activities. As a body mandated to spearhead scientific research, we are hugely affected in meeting expectations,” the Council Chairman stated.

 

Apart from the Pokuase land, he further alleged that two acres of the land at CSIR headquarters has also been granted to Wontrim Company Limited to put up a hotel facility while 8.5 acres of CSIR’s lands at the Airport Residential Area in Accra have been given out to Dr Kwabena Duffour including six bungalows, all totaling US$25 million.

 

Another company by name Mobus, Professor Adabor said, has also been allocated one acre from CSIR’s lands at the Airport Residential Area without the inputs of the CSIR.

 

Director General of CSIR, Professor Victor Agyeman, said it was unfortunate that the CSIR, which was already an existing and thriving scientific and technological institution of international repute, was being obliterated just to satisfy parochial interest.

 

“We will not in any way downplay the importance of affordable housing but we are saying science and technology which is already thriving in terms of its national and international mandate is equally crucial hence same should not be sacrificed on the altar of affordable housing,” he stressed.

 

In an interview with Ghanaian Times, Mr Wilkinson rejected the accusations saying that the Assembly could not be faulted for a project that was initiated by the Ministry of Works and Housing.

 

“I advised the CSIR to engage the Ministry to have their concerns addressed. I have no hand in the project although I know it is currently ongoing. The contractor is working after signing a contract with the Ministry of Works and Housing and not the Assembly. Neither the Assembly nor myself have a hand in the project,” he stated.

 

On claims of brutality against staff of CSIR who moved to the land to work by land guards, the MCE said “the Assembly does not work with land guards and we did not commission any group or persons to act as such to assault anyone. The CSIR should be questioning the contractor and not us.”

By Claude Nyarko Adams

 

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