Apana Korley family in E/R petitions Pres over parcel of land

HEAD of the Apana Korley Family, Odehebi Keklebesi Apana, has petitioned the President, Nana Ado Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to intervene in the release of parcel of a 340.65-acre land to the Stool, to make way for its registration.

The land, he said, is situated at Agama Kope Okwenya, near Akuse Junction – in the YiloKrobo Traditional Area in the Eastern Region.

Giving some background, the 92-year-old Odehebi Apana said his family land and other lands were compulsorily acquired by the Convention People’s Party (CPP) government under Kwame Nkrumah in 1960 for the State Farms without compensation to them.

He said after the collapse of the State Farms Corporation (SFC), the said lands, including the ApanaKorley family land– known as the State Farms Land, was abandoned by past governments without returning it to the land owners.

However, according to him, the government in 1994, acting in accordance with Clause (6) of Article 20 of the 1992 Constitution of the Fourth Republic of Ghana, released all lands acquired by the State for farming to land owners “including my family land.”

“The release of the lands was published in the Ghanaian Times on June 30, 1994, with the headline: ‘State Farms Land go back to owners’,” OdehebiApana recalled.

The YiloKrobo Traditional Council (YKTC) was reported to have shown interest after the release of the land, declaring it as Yilo State Land, and preventing landowners from having access to the land.

Documentary evidence showed that in 1997, the YKTC attempted to convert the said land to be part of the YiloKrobo Stool Land by passing a resolution claiming that the YKTC was the principal landlord of all YiloKrobo lands.

This resulted in court action instituted against the Paramount Chief of YiloKrobo, the YKTC and its president by some land owners of the YiloKrobo Traditional Area, seeking the High Court – among other reliefs to restrain the defendants from holding themselves as principal landlord of the YiloKrobo lands – including the said released State Farms lands.

Following the court action by the land owners, a nine-member Mediating Committee – known as the Apana Committee under the chairmanship of SetserKeklebesiApana, was set up to settle the suit out of court.

The Apana Committee completed its work in February 2000 and in its findings and recommendations (copies of which were made to the Koforidua High Court), stated among others that the YiloKrobos had no lands known as Yilo State lands – resulting in the restoration of the ownerships of the released State Farms lands to the rightful landowners, including the ApanaKorley family.

However, in 2008, OdehebiApana claimed his family and four other families were restrained from registering their parcels of land, “for reasons that our lands were still State and Stool-vested lands, triggering off our petition.”

He said on April 8, 2010, the government reacted positively to his petition with written directives to the Lands Commission in the Eastern Region for the registration of the land.

“Sadly, they failed to execute the President’s directive with the excuse that there were other interests of ownerships expressed in my family land by others, though such parties could not provide any valid documents to state their claim.”

The Head of the ApanaKortey Family showed several documents including site plans to the Ghanaian Times indicating its bonafide rights to the 340.65-acre land.

In a statutory declaration (Act.389/1971), he intimated that the land in question was by ancestral possession and occupation by the ApanaKorley Family through occupation and cultivation of the land by the ancestors of the Apana Korley family, when they were on the Krobo Mountain as far back as 1882 “and by continuous occupation on the land by the present descendants of the ancestors of the ApanaKorley family.”

He said at the moment, the said parcel of land is being encroached on with impunity and has once again petitioned President Akufo-Addo to help bring finality to the matter.

“Our concern is that people are encroaching on the land now which is extremely unfair. This is why we’re seeking the intervention of the President for the release of the land to my family to pave way for us to register and develop it for our people.

“So far, we have written five petitions to successive governments and we’re getting frustrated now,” he lamented.  

BY JOHN VIGAH

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