THE Ministerial Verification Committee on the status of the Buduburam refugee settlement lands has held its maiden meeting at the Buduburam refugee camp in the Gomoa East District of the Central Region.
The six-member committee inaugurated by the Interior Minister Mark Owen Woyongo last month was tasked to make recommendations towards the closure of the camp, investigate circumstances leading to the takeover of the Buduburam lands for refugee settlement purposes and establish the size of the land.
It was also to ascertain the actual owners of the land, determine the actual portion of the land which has government infrastructure on them and make recommendations for the future use of the land.
The 141.09 acre land has become the bone of contention for indigenous families in that area who are all claiming ownership to various parts of the land.
The chairman of the committee Mr. Kenneth Dzirasah addressing the meeting said the ultimate objective of the committee was to make recommendations towards the closure of the Buduburam settlement and called for cooperation among the claimants ahead of substantial sittings in the coming weeks to ensure peaceful resolution to the disagreements.
Mr. Dzirasah also the Chairman of Ghana Refugee Board said the refugee settlement has become a multinational enclave for citizens of various parts of the West African sub-region, hence the dialogue to maintain the peace in the area.
He said the committee would exercise caution in its deliberations to ensure that it lived above litigations which are already pending at the law court.
To be able to carve out portions that hold state properties, Mr. Dzirasah announced that the committee would engage the services of surveyors to undertake demarcations and appealed to all interested parties to co-operate with them.
According to him, after the inaugural sitting, witnesses would be invited to appear in an order determined by the committee, adding “we shall ensure that every witness whose evidence will assist us in our deliberations will be considered”.
The Country Representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Miss Chansa Kapaya said it was significant to close the Liberian refugee chapter to make way for other programmes and commended Ghana for the hospitality and generosity exhibited during the stay of the Liberian refugees in the country.
In her view, the West African sub-region would have been worse off if Ghana had failed to accommodate refugees and lead peace processes across the region.
The Buduburam camp was established in 1990 following a 14-year long Liberian civil war which forced some Liberians to seek refuge in Ghana.
From Julius Yao Petetsi, Buduburam