Aide to late President Jerry John Rawlings Dr Donald Agumenu has revealed that the former Ghanaian leader wanted his cremated body ashes splashed in the Achimota Forest to nourish and preserve the ecological sustainability of the green belt in Accra.
“He [President Rawlings] also wanted cubes made out of his cremated body ashes to be used in planting trees in Ghana,” the special aide said.
Dr Agumenu claimed he views ex-President Rawlings’ wishes as “his greatest contribution towards the preservation of Achimota Forest and the climate apart from numerous tree planting exercises”.
He has therefore called for a rethink on the latest government action, declassifying the Achimota Forest as a reserve.
“The far-reaching moral authority and influence of our revered traditional leaders of which some are members of the council of state should be brought on board to advise the leadership against this move.”
He stated that the release of 40 percent of portions of the Achimota Forest for other purposes “cannot and will not improve the socio-economic welfare of our country but rather cause havoc to the entire ecosystem”.
“It is my prayer the President of the Republic, H.E Nana Akufo-Addo will reconsider the advice from his sector leaders to avoid any restructuring or demarcation that will affect that beautiful ecosystem,” Dr Agumenu observed.
According to him, instead of releasing some portions of such strategic green belt and vegetative cover to private interests, the government should rather work out an appropriate and adequate compensation mechanism to the allodial owners in question.
He posited that since the “Paris Agreement of 2016 remains a symbol of good faith from governments of the world towards mitigating the emission of greenhouse gasses and bring about a sustainable solution, in line with Climate Action, goal 13 of the UN’s sustainable development goals,” the Ghana government and all strategic stakeholders are obliged to ensure the sustainability of the Achimota Forest.
According to him, if the UAE can tow icebergs from Antarctica to its coast for water at an estimated cost of $50-60 million with the aim of leveraging it as a new source of water in the region as well as a comprehensive project to import trees, then “we must not only cherish our natural reserves but protect and nurture them to serve as investment in the war against climate change”.
Dr. Agumenu stressed that the protection and sustainability of Ghana’s green belts and reserves should be a collective legacy of every Ghanaian and Africans at large.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo signed an Executive Instrument (EI) to declassify portions of the Achimota Forest as no longer a forest reserve.
The EI 144, gazetted on April 19, 2022, indicates that the area ceases to be recognized as a forest reserve from May 1, 2022.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Minority in Parliament has also spoken out strongly against the EI and called for its revocation.
“It is our belief that if any part of the Achimota forest is released to any original owner and committed to any use either than its present use, it will set in motion a catalytic action of demands for the return of whole or parts of the about 265 Forest reserves across the country to original landowners,” the Minority statement pointed out.