General News of 2014-01-02

500 Children in forest reserve denied education

About 500 children of school age in 10 communities in the Ho-West District of the Volta Region have no access to education because their parents have illegally settled in the Kalakpa Forest Reserve in the Abutia Traditional Area, where social amenities are non-existent.

The people have no access to roads, electricity, water, health and schools.

This was disclosed when the communities in collaboration with the Ho-West District Assembly organised an appeal for funds in aid of a temporary structure for a pre -school building for the communities.

They are Forsime, Droade, Vanakorpe, Folikorpe, Vokpo, Avetakpo, Agotive, Atixoe, Xorkpo, Dadzikope and Dowakorpe all within the Kalakpa forest reserve.

Addressing a gathering last Monday, the Chairman of the Kalakpa Community Resettlement Board, Togbe Amedzake III, said the people made a request for a pre-school in preparation for a relocation outside the forest reserve.

According to him, there had been consultation and dialogue between the Board and the Ho-West District Assembly and that a pre-school was a solution for resettlement.

Togbe Amedzake expressed regret that the promise by the authorities to resettle the communities was never fulfilled.

The Park Manager of the Forestry Commission, Mr Alex Adjei, said the commission granted the establishment of the school pending relocation of the settlements, adding that a five- kilometre square area had already been surveyed for a new settlement for the people.

Mr Adjei warned that the commission would not compromise on the laws of the land to protect the forest reserve and that there was total commitment to the protection of the reserve.

In an address, the Volta Regional Minister, Mr Joseph Nii Laryea Afotey-Agbo, said the relocation exercise would be conducted on humane grounds, and called for co-operation with the government machinery to facilitate the peaceful movement of the people from the forest.

Mr Afotey-Agbo called on non-governmental organisations to join the relocation exercise.

The Member of Parliament (MP) for Ho-West, Mr Emmanuel Bedzrah, expressed regret that children were still not in school and commended the resettlement board for taking the initiative on education.

The Fiaga of Abutia traditional area, Togbe Abutia Kodzo Gidi VIII, who chaired the function, called on the Non Formal Education Division (NFED) of the Ministry of Education to extend their services to the communities.