MOFA takes steps to retrieve encroached lands

Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto,Minister of Agriculture

Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto,Minister of Agriculture

The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) has commenced a nationwide exercise to reclaim all encroached lands belonging to the Ministry from individuals and institutions.

The exercise, which began last Sunday, in Nungua, Accra, is aimed at putting the encroached lands to the original purposes for which they were acquired.

The lands in question were reserved purposely for the establishment of demonstration farms for National Service Personnel as well as research demonstration plots for the development of the country’s agricultural sector.

Addressing a press conference in Accra, yesterday to announce the exercise, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Minister of Food and Agriculture, said the demolishing exercise also formed parts of efforts to meet the accommodation needs of the sector Ministry and the general public through the construction of affordable housing units.

He has, therefore, warned the encroachers to “vacate instantly to avoid unforeseen circumstances.”

The Minister explained that he had directed the taskforce in charge of the operation to consider persons living in areas which had been heavily encroached by regularising their stay whilst those in light encroached areas would be “totally demolished and confiscated.”

Dr Owusu Afriyie added that “this nationwide exercise is being conducted, taking into consideration the socio-economic needs of people who may be affected in the process.”

Cautioning groups and persons selling or buying government lands, especially those belonging to MoFA to desist from the act or face the full rigours of the law, he stressed that no compensation will be given to affected persons.

“We will not compensate any encroacher after the demolishing exercise because those lands were acquired illegally. MoFA will rather lose money because huge sums of money will be used for the exercise, so why should we compensate people who are causing us financial lose because of their encroachment,” he said.

According to Dr Owusu Afriyie, if drastic measures were not taken by MoFA to address the “crisis” situation, the encroachment on government properties would not end.

He advised persons and institutions who want to acquire lands to seek clearance about the lands from the Lands Commission before engaging in any transaction.

By Raissa Sambou     

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