……….Over Forest Reserve lands
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Forestry Commission, Mr. Samuel Afari Dartey, has taken a swipe at the Greater Accra Regional Police Commander, Christian Yehonu, over his alleged involvement in siding with a private developer, who is battling the Commission over portions of the Achimota forest reserve land.
According to the Chief Executive (CE), instead ofassisting the Forestry Commission to pursue its constitutional and legal mandate of protecting the forest reserve, which belongs to the state and the people of Ghana, the regional police commander, has rather sent his men to prevent the Forestry Commission from doing so, while allowing the private developer to erect a wall.
Addressing the media in Accra over the wanton destruction of the Achimota Forest Reserve, Mr Samuel Afari Dartey, noted that similar actions by initial developers has already resulted in the loss of about 140 hectres of the original 494 hectres to urban encroachment, stressing that they are now doing everything possible to safeguard the rest of the 360 hectres , the Commission has, therefore, vowed not to allow the destruction of the Achimota forest to continue.
He said, they were notified that a private developer, Platinum Properties, acting on behalf of one Nii Ako Nortei, Mankralo of Osu, obtained judgment against the Lands Commission in respect of about 172 acres of certain portions of the Achimota School Lands.
In pursuance of the execution of the judgment, the private developer in July this year, trespassed into part of the Achimota Forest Reserve, opposite the offices of the Forestry Commission, near Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), and destroyed a portion of the forest along the Achimota- Legon road.
MrDartey, said the private developer name Platinum Developers, was confronted and told that, that portion was part of the Achimota Forest Reserve and does not constitute part of the Achimota School Lands, for which they have a judgment over.
He continued that after been informed, he left that portion and went ahead and cleared more land belonging to Achimota School to make up for the loss, so in effect, they have secured the 172 acres out of the Achimota School Lands.
He said, the Achimota Forest Reserve was gazzeted as a forest reserve in 1930, with the objectives to serve as a field laboratory for research by schools in Accra, to provide a place for recreation, to conserve biological diversity, to play the ecological role of purifying the air for people to breath in and to act as a watershed to allow recharge of the underground water and our rivers and streams.
He noted that the commission is mandated by the constitution of the Republic of Ghana and the Forest Protection Acts and the associated legislation to substantially manage,protect and develop the forest and wildlife reserves of Ghana to contribute to the socio- economic development of the country.
He, therefore, called on the law enforcement agencies, land owners, the general public and the media to support them in their quest to stop the destruction of the rest of the 360 h of the Achimota Forest.