Give back our lands if… Nungua Mantse demands from govt

The Nungua Traditional Council has appealed to the government to return parcels of land it acquired from the Sakumono Ramsar Site and Nungua site for National Sports Complex to the Nungua Stool if it has no use for them.

According to the council, the government acquired the sites for special projects but encroachers had taken over the areas, while state institutions mandated by law to protect these areas look on unconcerned.

 Addressing journalists in Accra on Friday, the Nungua Shitse/Mantse, Professor Oboade Notse King Odaifio WelentsiIII, urged the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Abdullai Jinapor, to as matter of urgency take steps to remove all illegal structures on the land

Nii Welentsi III said the council was bound to protect the stool lands because it was entitled to take back the lands if government failed to use the land for the purpose for which it was acquired.

He said the Ramsar Site was part of large tracts of land acquired from the Nungua Stool alongside Tema and Kpone for the construction of Tema Harbour and other facilities, while the Nungua Site for National Sports Complex, an area of 745.272 acres was acquired by government from the Nungua Stool in 1999 to construct a sports facility for public use.

He said a section of the land surrounding the Sakumono lagoon and measuring1,365 hectres, under the custody of the Tema Development Council (TDC), was transferred to the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission through negotiation from 1987-92.

Following that, the Nungua Mantse, who is also the vice president of the Greater Accra Regional House of Chiefs, said that the area was designated, alongside four other areas in Ghana, as Ramsar Site under the International Treaty of Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, which the government ratified in 1998.

Nii Welentsi III stated that by designating the area as ‘Ramsar Site’ the government became committed to taking steps to protecting the area, and that the government passed the Wetlands Management (Ramsar Sites) Regulations, L.I.1659 in 1999 to protect and maintain Sakumono lagoon and its surrounding areas.

Until the Sakumono Site was designated as Ramsar Site, the Vice President of the Greater Accra Regional House of Chiefs said the area was rich in green vegetation, with local and migratory birds visiting the site, while fishermen enjoyed bumper harvest.

Today, Nii Welentsi III said the area had become a pale shadow of itself, while the authorities mandated to protect it looked on unconcern.

“What we see today is continual degradation from encroachment, increasing levels of pollution (solid and liquid waste), total loss of the ecological value and reduced recreational and educational potential of the site. These are clear expressions of reduced government commitment to take all steps necessary to protect the site as required by the ratification of the Ramsar Agreement. The prestige as a ‘Ramsar Site’ of global significance is gone.”

Nii Welentsi III called on traditional leaders in Ghana to wage a crusade against wanton sale and destruction of government property.

Nii Welentsi III added: “If we fail to do this, one day we will realise that there are no more lands for us to embark on developmental projects for present and yet to be born generations.”

BY MALIK SULLEMANA

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