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Achimota Forest saga: The looting of state lands has now been extended to forest reserves – Minority

Haruna Iddrisu1212121212 Leader of the Minority Caucus of Parliament, Haruna Iddrisu

Wed, 18 May 2022 Source:

We denounce attempts by government officials to loot state lands - Minority

Declassifying portions of Achimota Forest endangers the reserve – Minority

The minority caucus in Parliament has bemoaned the decision of the government to declassify portions of the Achimota Forest.

In a statement, the minority said that declassification of portions of the Achimota Forest Reserve is an attempt by some government officials to loot lands belonging to the state, which is worrying because the grabbing of state lands has now been extended to reserves.

According to the minority, even though the government has said that only portions of the Achimota land were declassified as a reserve, using it for other purposes will eventually end up affecting the integrity of the forest.

“We observe with utmost dismay in consonance with the shock expressed by many Ghanaians on President Akufo-Addo’s decision to reclassify the Achimota Forest. We equally denounce the huge appetite of government officials in present times in grabbing government lands all over the regions of Ghana and are particularly not amused by the extension of this objectionable act to include reserved lands.

“... the decision to classify the Achimota Forest as not a forest reserve any longer is dangerous and does not reflect our avowed objective of keeping the only green area in Accra and to a large extent restoring deforested land in the country,” portions of the statement read.

The minority added that “… Achimota Forest is the only existing greenbelt in Ghana’s capital city, Accra, and any decision on that land should either add more ecological value to it or enhance its present value. Any decision by the government to reclassify it as a commercial/residential zone, even if only a part of it, will not serve the ecological value effect but, on the contrary, jeopardize the essence of the forest as a reserved area and will open it up to further abuse and non-ecological use.”

The minority further stated that returning the parts of the Achimota Forest Reserve to its original owner for it to be used for a different purpose will lead to the owners of the 265 forest reserves in the country also demanding the return of whole or parts of their lands.

Meanwhile, Samuel Abu Jinapor has said that the government has not declassified the entire Achimota Forest.

He explained that the government only declassified peripheral portions of the forest reserve that was rightly released by the then John Dramani Mahama government to the Owoo family.

The minister added that he, on behalf of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, enacted an Executive Instrument to amend the law (Forest Act, CAP 157) which made the portion of the land given to the Owoo family a reserve so that the family would have full assess it.

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