The Akatsi Demonstration Area Development Association (DADA) in the Volta Region has appealed to the government to intervene in the impasse between the Akatsi Demonstration Basic School and Global Evangelical Church, which is negatively affecting academic performance of the school and development of the area.
According to the association, the church is trying to take over the school land by disrupting every development project earmarked for the school, and also intimidating the authorities at the least opportunity.
These were contained in a letter cited by the Ghanaian Times written to the Justice and Security Sub-committee of the Akatsi-South District Assembly and signed by the chairman of the association and nine others.
It was copied to the head of the school, the assemblyman, the District Director of Education and the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice.
The rest are the district pastor, Global Evangelical Church, the District Chief Executive (DCE), the Avenor Traditional Council, the Member of Parliament of the area, the District Police Commander, the District Officer of the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) and others.
The letter stated that the Akatsi Demonstration School was established in the 60s as a practice school for the then Akatsi Training College, hence the name “Demonstration School.”
It said the Evangelical Presbyterian (EP) Church took advantage of the presence of the late Reverend Gabriel K. Akorli, a teacher of the school and Rev. Minister of the EP Church to worship in one of the classrooms.
It stated that the use of the classroom continued until the split in the EP Church in 1980, when part of the congregation left with EP Church, and the other part remained with the Global Evangelical Church, which continued “using the place till date only to now lay claim to the land and property of the school.”
The association stated that the problem started in 1996 and 2000 when the PTA wanted to build a six-unit classroom block for the school, the church came and stopped the project claiming the land belonged to the church.
It said the matter was referred to the district assembly who gave the go ahead for the project to be executed, while the church was also allowed to build a three-unit classroom block, which was never released to the school.
The association indicated that, the church in March 2017, wrote to the head of the school to relocate all movable and immovable properties, which the school refused to oblige.
It stated that, Pencils of Plastics, a non-governmental organisation, wanted to construct a new six-unit classroom block to ease congestion, but the church again stopped the project, and rather constructed a shed in an act of defiance.
The association said the church shares the same toilet with the school, but when that facility broke down, the church constructed another one and kept it under lock and key, forcing the pupils to go on “free range” or go home, which poses a serious environmental health hazard, adding that “teachers had to go to homes around the school to use such facilities.”
It said a philanthropist who attempted to construct a toilet for the school was also stopped, but it took the courage of the association to have a two toilet facility for more than 500 pupils.
The association, therefore, urged the security committee of the assembly and government to stop the church from claiming ownership of the school land, remove unauthorised structures from the school compound for the project to continue and cease interrupting any development project of the school in order to avoid any bloodshed in the near future.
The Akatsi South District Chief Executive, Leo-Nelson Adzidogah, in a telephone interview, confirmed the impasse and stated that he had on three occasions attempted to address the issue, but to no avail.
He said when he heard that the matter was heading to court, he withdrew his interest in the case.
Mr Adzidogah stated that the traditional authorities led by the paramount chief of the area had set up a committee to investigate the claim by the church and were yet to submit their report.