Ensure indigenes of Amasaman benefit from UNOPS housing project —Chief

The Chief of Kaneshie, Nii Nikoi Ashalley I, the custodian of Amasaman lands, has admonished the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and the government not to leave out the Amasaman community in the planned development of the area through the affordable housing project.  

Vice President Dr Alhaji Mahamadu Bawumia, on Wednesday, broke the ground for the commencement of work on the 100,000 housing units nationwide project being funded by the UN agency at Afiaman, a suburb of Amasaman in the Ga West Municipality of the Greater Accra Region.

For the start, 6,500 units of the US$5.3 billion project are to be erected at Afiaman, a suburb of Amasaman.

Speaking in an interview with the Ghanaian Times in Accra yesterday, Nii Nikoi Ashalley I said the traditional authority was happy that a project of such magnitude would be sited in their locality but the community must not be left out.

“Our ancestors gave the land out 70 years ago in the hope that the benefits accruing from the project will trickle down to us.  Any project that comes, they say ‘it is in the interest of the state and the community’ but that has never been the case.”

Nii Nikoi Ashalley I said despite giving out their lands to successive governments in the past for developmental projects, neither the local communities nor the people have benefited as allodial owners of the land.

“So this time round, we are going to ensure that the community and its people benefit from the project. We are now going to sit down [with the UNOPS and government] to look at what and what we are going to benefit as a people and as a community,” he said.

Some of the projects he wants done for the community include the construction of Amasaman town roads, schools, health facilities, drainage systems and market, amongst others.

Apart from the above, Nii Nikoi Ashalley I also wants streets in the area named after their forebears, a fraction of the flats designated, not for free, to indigenes of the area as a way of ensuring that they benefited from the project, as well as the engagement of the youth of the area during the construction phase.

He said the land was originally acquired for the purpose of piggery but the plan has changed.

“If the piggery project had materialised, the local people would have been involved in the value chain but now it is housing. How many of us the locals can be involved in it. That is why there must be conscious efforts to get the people and the community involved so that we benefit fairly,” he said.

In his view, the Ga people have not been treated fairly by successive governments in the administration of their prime lands and that it was time the trend changed.

Nii Nikoi Ashalley said Ga lands procured by the state for developmental projects have been used for private purposes; a situation he said was “unacceptable.”

Hinting that his outfit will follow through so that the people derived the benefits, Nii Nikoi Ashalley I was hopeful that the UNOPS and government would consider their requests.

BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI

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