Lands Ministry vows to halt encroachment on Sakumono Ramsar Site

Mr. Peter Amewu(middle)being briefed by Rev. David Kpelle (third from right) at the Ramsar site at Sakumono. Photo: Vitor A. Buxton

Mr. Peter Amewu(middle)being briefed by Rev. David Kpelle (third from right) at the Ramsar site at Sakumono. Photo: Vitor A. Buxton

The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources is to commence processes to halt development of the encroached part of the Sakumono Ramsar Site in the Tema Metropolis.

 

A Ramsar site is a wetland site designated for international importance under the Ramsar Convention, which is an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.

 

The decision follows a tour of the site yesterday by the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu, which revealed that more than 282 hectares of the 1365 hectares site had been encroached upon illegally by some individuals.

 

The Minister and his entourage later met the Paramount Chief of the Nungua Traditional Area, Nii Odaifio Welentsi III to court his support in tackling the menace.

 

Briefing the media, Mr Amewu said it was time the Ministry, together with chiefs and all other stakeholders work together in addressing growing incidence of encroachment of government vested lands in the country.

 

“We need to identify and strengthen collaboration among key stakeholders including the Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA), Tema Development Corporation (TDC) and National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO). Multi-stakeholder engagement is the only way we can stop this illegality. The Ministry, on our part will consider injunction to stop the current development ongoing on the encroached portions”, he said.

 

The Ministry, he said would consider demolition of unauthorised structures to serve as a deterrent to encroachers who continue their operations on the site.

 

He tasked agencies and institutions responsible for the sites to speed up interventions designed to discourage the public from encroaching on such ecological sites.

 

Mr Amewu noted that due to the loss of ecological biodiversity on encroached areas leading to habitat loss area for flood control, habitat for native and migratory birds and spread of aquatic weeds, the Ministry would re-demarcate the area and possibly develop recreational facilities on the sites.

 

Nii Odaifio Welentsi III urged the Lands Commission to be vigilant in securing and protecting state lands and sites adding that “government must utilise its power and machinery in protecting assets of the state and stop people from encroaching on lands and spaces designated for national development.”

 

He said the stool would continue to work with the Ministry in tackling all forms of illegality regarding land administration.

 

Mr David Kpelle, Director of Operations, Wildlife Division, Forestry Commission, said the commission plans to develop the ecotourism and educational potentials of the site through public-private partnership arrangements.

 

He noted that the commission would intensify field staff and rapid response team to control unauthorised activities on the various ecological sites.

 

 

 

 

 

By Claude Nyarko Adams

 

 

 

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