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General News Tue, 29 Apr 1997

Ofankor Chiefs Petition Interior Minister Over Destruction Of Houses

Accra The chief and elders of Ofankor in the Ga district have petitioned the Minister of the Interior over the demolition of 40 buildings by the police at Ofankor on Monday. This was made known at a meeting at Ofankor by Nii Abban Kortei the second, Ofankor Mantse. He said the land on which the buildings were demolished was the subject matter of a case pending before a court. Nii Kortei said the case was first decided in favour of the chiefs and the people of Ofankor but the Lands Commission filed an appeal which is pending. He expressed the view that the police action was in contempt of the court. The chief confirmed that the land was compulsorily acquired by the Acheampong regime in 1976 for a Police College and Training School in 1976 by the Acheampong regime.

"Since then, no development has taken place on the land but we noticed certain senior policemen started allocating the two square kilometre land to themselves and others. " We were not compensated when the land was acquired neither were we consulted prior to the acquisition of the land. The chief alleged that a woman operating a quarry on the land ''claims to have acquired the land through the police. " We even know that (officials) of the Lands Commission which know that the disputed land was intended for a Police College were allocating parts of it to others." "We have since 1995 petitioned the President on the issue and we were surprised that the Police would go so far as to demolish the homes of people on an issue pending before the courts. He said one of the houses destroyed belonged to a senior police officer stationed at Sunyani.

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Mr James Tetteh Lartey, the assemblyman, said a court presided over by Ms Justice Emelia Aryee in 1995 ruled that the Executive Instrument (EI 16) dated November 8, 1976 did not vest Ofankor land in the Lands Commission and therefore revoked it. He said the Ms Justice Aryee, slapped an injunction, restraining the police from trespassing and/or granting any portion of the said lands to any individual. Meanwhile, Ofankor youths, wearing red bands and singing war songs, have blocked the main road to the town with tree trunks and are burning used tyres.

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