Land guards attack journalists on Achimota lands

Two unidentified gun-wielding men believed to be land guards at the weekend allegedly assaulted two broadcast journalists from TV 3 who were on assignment on the encroached Achimota Senior High School lands and in the process seized their camera and other equipment.

The two broadcast journalists, Stephen Nii Blewu and Frederick Clarence Williams, were part of the members of the Old Achimotan Association (OAA) who visited the Achimota School lands to assess the level of encroachment on the land, after an Emergency General Meeting (EGM) of the association.

The other members of the OAA group were the Managing Director of the New Times Corporation, Ms. Carol Annang, Professor Ernest Aryeetey, President of the OAA and Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Captain (Rtd) Nkrabeah Effah Dartey, a private legal practitioner, Joel Nettey, President of the Advertising Association of Ghana.

In the process of the TV 3 broadcast journalists taking video shots of walls being constructed by a private land developer on portions of the encroached Achimota School lands, the two gun-wielding unidentified men, who were riding a black Colorado Pick Up with registration number GW 8336, reportedly pulled a gun at them and took away the camera and other equipment. 

The members of the Executives Committee of the OAA immediately reported the matter to the Achimota Police and a source at the station told The Ghanaian Times that the case would be quickly investigated and the culprits apprehended to face the full rigours of the law.

Nii Blewu, one of the victims of the assault, narrating the incident to The Ghanaian Times, said he and his colleague were taking video shots of walls being constructed on the Achimota School lands.

He explained that while taking the shots, two men who were riding a black pick-up menacingly approached them and at gun-point forcibly took away their camera, microphone embossed with TV 3 logo and other equipment for ostensibly taking shots of the site.

According to Nii Blewu, one of the assailants shouted on them “You claim you are journalists from TV 3 and you allowed our wall to be pulled down.  We have seized your camera so go and tell the executives of the OAA to come and take your camera for you.”

“I resisted and didn’t want to give the camera to them but they pulled a gun at me and took the camera away,” he said.

Speaking to journalists after the EGM, which discussed a number of measures proposed by the Executive Committee of OAA to stop the illegal developments and reclaim the stolen Achimota School lands, Professor Aryeetey expressed concern about the failure of the state to protect the Achimota School lands.

“It is shameful the state cannot protect the Achimota School land and private developers and encroachers are stealing the land,” he said.

Prof. Aryeetey said OAA had already met President John Mahama over the issue and  would use legal means including seeking injunction , peaceful march and constructing a wall around the school  to prevent the private developers from developing and encroaching on the Achimota School lands.

He said, he could not fathom why private developers could forcibly and impudently take a land which does not belong to them, saying if action was not immediately taken to protect the Achimota school lands; the school would not have any land for infrastructural development in the next few years.

According to Prof. Aryeetey, encroachers and private developers had taken over more than half of the 1500-acre Achimota School land.

The President said the association would need $2 million to construct a wall around the school and appealed to old students of the school and philanthropists alike to donate towards the project.

The encroachment and stealing of Achimota School lands have attracted attention in recent times and the OAA has vowed to use all legal means to reclaim the stolen Achimota School lands.

At the tour of the Achimota School lands on Saturday, bulldozers were seen clearing portions of the land.

By Kingsley Asare

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