Four members of the Concerned Farmers Association of Terchire in the Tano North District of the Ahafo Region, have been arrested by the Police for resisting the destruction of their properties.
The four who were fighting off the wanton destruction of their lands and farms from being allegedly destroyed by Newmont Gold Ghana Limited, were picked up on Wednesday September 6, when they went to their farm and noticed the ongoing destruction by use of heavy moving equipment.
It all happened when the chairman of the association, Mr John Mensah went on a working visit to his farm and was faced with the unpleasant destruction of his farm, by agents believed to be working for Newmont Gold Ghana Limited, ostensibly for mining purposes.
Reports have it that in the act of protecting Mr Mensah’s farm from further destruction, the farmers were arrested on the farm by the Tano North District Police who were providing what was seen as protection for the Newmont assigned.
Prior to the arrest of the four individuals, three other farmers with the names; Yaw Adu, John Mensah and Emmanuel Kwame Marfo, were arrested in a similar manner by the Tano North District Police upon complaint by Newmont Gold Ghana Limited that these three farmers had trespassed onto Newmont’s concession and destroyed their property.
They were arraigned before the Circuit Court in DuayawNkwanta in the Tano North District on Monday September 4, 2023.
The Court granted the farmers bail, pending the final determination of the case .
Newmont is accused of intensifying its encroachment on lands of these farmers between July and September this year.
According to information, the company has entered onto the lands of farmers and unlawfully destroyed the farm produce without the owner’s consent.
What is more is that, there is no negotiation for payment of compensation for their farm properties.
The destroyed properties comprise of teak trees, cocoa farms, palm trees and food crops belonging to John Mensah, Beatrice Mensah, Yaw Pau Asare, Abraham Amo, Silas Adjei Mensah, Gabriel Kofi Nelson, Abubakar Sadick and Emmanuel Kwame Marfo.
These farms serve as the main source of livelihood for these farmers.
The affected farmers through their lawyers, the Centre for Public Interest Law (CEPIL) have formally notified Newmont to stop the unlawful destruction of the properties.
However, the company has disregarded this notice and used the Tano North District Police to intimidate and harass the affected farmers when these farmers exercise their constitutional right to own and protect their properties from destruction by Newmont.
While, the farmers and Newmont are aware that government has started a process towards compulsorily acquiring some of the lands belonging to some members of the Concerned Farmers Association for mining, no such lands which is being destroyed have been compulsorily acquired yet for Newmont’s mining operations in accordance with law.
The grave concern of the affected farmers is that the destruction of these farms by Newmont, will leave no evidence of farm properties and prove of ownership to demand compensation from government or the Lands Commission when the compulsory acquisition process of their lands kicks in.