Friday, April 8, 2016

Land Grab by The Ghana Armed Forces



War drums are beating at La in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana, and it could lead to some bloody clashes between the civilian population and the Ghana Armed Forces. According to the La people, lands that were given out for military purposes are currently being repackaged and sold to foreign companies and private businessmen without due regard to the original owners of the land. Read more here: http://www.modernghana.com/news/684062/tension-at-la-as-community-clash-with-military-over-land.html
The Coalition of La Youth Associations and the Board of Trustees of the Dadekotopon Development Trust have asked the Ghana Armed Forces and the Government of Ghana to return all parcels of land that are no longer intended for the purposes for which they were first acquired.
They have also accused the Military of “fomenting acts of Terror and brutalities against the local people.”
Please read below the views of the La people about the loot of their lands by the Ghana Armed Forces;

Margaret Adjetey
Margaret Adjetey
“The Military of today no longer epitomizes peace, discipline and integrity. It has become the facilitator for the loot of land for the benefit of private people, mostly engaged in real estate housing. All of our lands have been encroached upon by the Military under the pretext of seeking land for security buffer, but the main objective of this grand project is to make land easily accessible to private companies. This is criminal and we are prepared to fight this injustice. We are no longer frightened by the guns they wield because we bought it for them to protect our the people of this country and our properties. How it has happened that the Military now connive to extort and appropriate our properties can only be explained by God. We are sending a word of caution to Colonel Gyekye Asante and his superiors that this is La in Greater Accra and no force can cheat or defeat us.”

Korkoi Quaye
Korkoi Quaye
“We are serving notice to the Ghana Armed Forces to as a matter of urgency vacate every piece of land it has not acquired legitimately. The Military has become nothing more than thugs in the business of snatching land with the gun for private gains. We are the owners of the 2, 456 acres of land being grabbed by the Military and we are taking it back. The rate at which the Ghana Armed Forces has recently been trespassing on our lands by means of force is unacceptable and it will be resisted and that resistance has started from today. By our meeting today, we are ordering the Military to hand over every piece of land which no longer serves the purposes for which it was intended and we demand that they stop the encroachment of our collective ownership as a people with our heritage bound to this area and our land.”

Patience Anyekaa Annan
Patience Anyekaa Annan
“Colonel Gyekye Asante and his bosses must understand that this is Accra and not Asante. If he intends to hide under the uniform to conduct business by false pretenses, then we will remove those uniforms because God and the truth are on our side. If the Military intends to coerce the good people of La and twists their hands as they rob us of our lands then Colonel Asante must understand that a war has started and we shall fight to its logical conclusion. We are demanding that the President steps in and order the Military to hand over every stolen or illegally acquired land peacefully as he shall be a recipient of the chaos that is coming. We have suffered enough and we shan’t allow any man or woman to take advantage of his Military uniform to steal the resources of this area or oppress anybody in this country because we have lived through these times before and we know what a corrupt soldier wielding a gun can do. We love our country and that is why we want to stamp out greed and the corruption that has eaten into the Ghana Armed Forces. We prefer to die than to have our farmers and our children disposed of our lands. This is a warning and we will fight to the end.”

Doris Kai Amoah
Doris Kai Amoah
“My father was a small scale farmer who farmed till his death some years ago. My brothers also took to farming and so did their children because it was a source of livelihood for them and the rest of the family. These are the lands the soldiers have taken so forcefully from us to be handed over to foreigners. The Military men have now become business men. On many occasions they beat our farmers when they go to their farm to work in order to make a living. We are most surprised that these things are happening under a government we have served so diligently. If the benefit of casting a ballot or supporting John Mahama will lead to my dispossession of my land by the Military then what is the point of all the hard work we do for these political parties? Our sources of livelihood are being taken away from us and we have no refuge from these people. No people or township can survive without farmers because they feed the world every day by their labours of work on the land so where will the food come from when the land on which the farmers work has been taken?”

Rebecca Oboshie Torgbor
Rebecca Oboshie Torgbor
“We have so much land at La but we do not own them as the state and some foreigners have virtually taken them all. Our children and grandchildren are walking the streets without a place to lay their heads and that disturbs me a lot. The decision by the soldiers to forcefully take land they have not paid for complicating the matter, especially as we have already given them huge concessions for the construction of hospitals and barracks over the years. Do they want to make us a landless people? They have even destroyed our farmlands on which we farm as a source of livelihood, so how can we live with any dignity. The Military has also destroyed our sacred and revered sites that dates back to many years and one of such sites is the place where the “Kpletso Deity” can be found. They completely ransacked the whole area. But why must this happen to a people who have sacrificed so much to the construction of this nation? I hope the President will speak out on this matter because we are suffering and we demand justice.”

Edith Atwei Tawiah
Edith Atwei Tawiah
“We have contributed to the development of this country and for that the people of La demand that we be treated with some dignity and respect. We have chosen an amicable settlement to the injustices we have suffered at the hands of the Military because we believe that this government, especially will ensure that what is right and just is done. But having waited for this long and as the Military has decided to continue with the pillage and the direct grab of our lands, we have decided to resort to mass action and what has happened here today is the start of what is yet to come. We are not babies at all and our forefathers lived here long before the white men came to Ghana and before we had our independence. We have voluntarily given out so much land already for state projects and we will protect what is left because our children need them. The soldier men who have decided to do business with our land must beware, because this will fail and it will fail because soldierman no be business man. Their work is not to take land for whatever reason. If the State needs any portion of land here, the authorities must approach us for negotiation, but if they resort to force we shall resort to resistance because this is La.”

Elisabeth Akweley Kotey
Elisabeth Akweley Kotey
“My father is a farmer  who had his farm behind the International Trade Fair Centre for many years before my birth. Having taught me how to cultivate many crops when he was alive, it was only normal that I walked in his shoes and continued farming, which brought food home and served as a source of making money for myself and for my family. One fine morning I had gone to the farm to go about my business when a group of soldiers started shouting at me from a distance ordering me to leave the land immediately. With so much fear and anxiety I left everything behind and rushed home. I know that a certain portion of land had been given to the soldiers, some years ago, but what they want to take now does not belong them. If they do, they will drive myself and the generations after me into misery and poverty. I beg them to please leave my land for me because that is my only hope of survival in this life and that is all I have got to bequeath to generations after me. The soil on my farm is conducive for growing Okro and other vegetable and that is where I have made a living these many years.”

Vida Akong a.k.a Nakai Djen Yoo
Vida Akong a.k.a Nakai Djen Yoo
“I live in a family house that has become so congested because we no longer have land on which to build houses anymore. The land has all been taken bit by bit by Military officers and some shady characters whose claim of ownership to our lands cannot be verified but we know that they do not own the lands. The East Dadekotopon Development Corporation takes charge of our lands and they are once who decide what must happen to our lands. The lands the Military wants to take is unlawful because when the East Dadekotopon Development Corporation and the Ghana Armed Forces went to court over the matter, the judge ruled that we be paid the deserved compensation before the Military can take those lands but they have done contrary and that Colonel Gyekye Asante who has no respect for Nii Tsuru III will write an insulting letter when the attention of the army is drawn to the devastation that their actions are causing to our lands they have encroached upon. Only this morning some of our farmers have been beaten by the soldiers on their farms and these brutalities take place every day. These things must stop and the Military must vacate our lands because we are feeling the pinch and we are going to react in our search for justice.”

Hannah Adjorkor Boi
Hannah Adjorkor Boi
“I live in a small family house with my children and grandchildren. We desire to move out onto our family lands, but the Military men have taken so much of this land that we have no other alternative. I beg the President to order the soldiers out of our lands because our situation has become so miserable and frustration has set in for most of us. We are being made to feel like strangers and that is what hurts me so much because we were the ones who willingly gave out lands for the development of Accra because we believed in nation building. That gesture must not be taken to mean meekness at all because when we decide to take drastic measures, no one will survive the heat.”

Salomey Pattison
Salomey Pattison
“The insults and the indignity we have suffered at the hands of the Ghana Armed Forces is completely shocking. That, a common colonel from Asante can look in the face of the La Mantse, Nii Kpobi Tettey Tsuru III and challenge his authority when he complained about the serious environmental hazards that the wining by some private persons were causing to residents on land illegally acquired by the Military is completely dumb-founding. I know he will not address the Asantehene in the terms he did of  Nii Kpobi Tettey Tsuru III in his letter, but he must be rest assured that we will make sure that he never takes advantage of his Military uniform and take lands that do not bother anywhere near the Ashanti Region. His disgust and disrespect for Nii will be punished at the right time when every inch of land he and his bosses are seeking to grab is taken away in broad daylight. What belong to the people of La will always remain ours and no businessman or soldier man business man can take it. We are pleading with the authorities to initiate an amicable settlement of this matter because when the cock crows, La will respond and we will respond very fiercely. Enough of the land grab.”

Vivian Akweley Ako
Vivian Akweley Ako
“We called the press to this meeting today because we have had enough of the marginalization and the disregard for our children and those that come after them. The time to ensure that sanity is made to prevail is now because we cannot accept the state of affairs with regard to the manner in which the Armed Forces has decided to handle this scandal. We had hoped that we could live side by side with Military, but they have proven otherwise by the passage of time. If the Military needed land, then why did they sell the huge plot of land opposite the 37 Military Hospital to private developers who are building high rise buildings without our consent. They are not getting any more land from here and of they choose to apply brute force as they are doing today then history might have to repeat itself because no one has ever managed to cheat the people of La and those who did had their fingers burnt. That cock is crowing and the La people are responding like never before. The struggle for the preservation of our lands has started today.”

Mary Opong
Mary Opong
“For the very first time the people of La have started a series of actions to protest against the injustices we have suffered at the hands of the Military and we ask of the solidarity of all people home and abroad. We have become homeless people because of our generosity to the State and certain characters seek to take advantage of our hopelessness. We cannot bear the suffering anymore and we demand that justice is made to prevail today. We cannot hand over the few portions of land on we farm and live. Land is the basis of every economic activity and we are shocked to learn that in this day and age a few groups of people with briefcases and some in Military uniforms will shamelessly seek to take what has been a collective ownership of the La people for these many centuries. But the protest has started from today and we stand very firmly behind the Dadekotopon Development Corporation demand of every portion of land the Ghana Armed Forces have taken illegally.”

Gifty Yemofio
Gifty Yemofio
“Our participation in this year’s election and the choices we will make will definitely be dependent on the outcome of the call of the Military to stop the pillage of the resources of the La people. We are custodians of the La lands and we insist that the military loot of acres of our land must be returned immediately. The deception and the coercion have gone on for too long and it must stop. Where in this country has a people so willingly given this level of solidarity to any government? There is none! We have given out land to thegovernment for so many projects which has benefitted everyone in this country, including the people of La but we have sacrificed more. The government must step in to maintain order before matters get out of hand. In fact, there will be no place to mount the ballot boxes because we no cause to participate in the upcoming general elections in November. We are embittered by the raw treatment we have received at the hands of the government and the Military







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