General News Fri, 30 Apr 1999

Stool Lands Commission Vows to Kick out Land Guards

Amasaman (Greater Accra) 30 April ?99

The Stool Lands Boundaries Settlement Commission (SLBSC) on Thursday swore to stop the activities of land guards to eradicate violence in land disputes.

Mr Justice J. A. Osei, Commissioner of SLBSC, told a public forum to educate chiefs and land custodians on issues involving the settlement of stool lands boundary cases, while cases are pending before the commission, the disputing parties usually employ land guards to prevent surveyors employed by the commission to draw a preliminary plan of the disputed area from doing their job.

These land guards also threaten people residing on the land.

The disputing factions do that out of the erroneous notion that the preliminary plan is the final evidence for judgement, he said.


This preliminary plan "is only meant for the commission to know the claims and counter-claims of the factions in the dispute and that it is not a conclusive plan.

"This misconception about the preliminary plan accounts for about 50 per cent of the violence and its resultant delay in the settlement of land boundary dispute cases."

Mr Justice Osei said: "The commission has, therefore, taken it as its duty to eradicate this phenomenon of land guards who are even believed to be enriching themselves at the expense of the land custodians, buyers and the commission."

He warned disputing factions to refrain from granting developers portions of a land under dispute before the commission without the permission of the commission.

The commission has, however, added a new feature to its operations to make it possible for a piece of land under dispute to be granted to a neutral investor "provided the land would be used for the national interest."


Mr Justice Osei observed that the current centralised system of the commission's operations is another major cause of delay in the dispensation of justice.

This, he said, promotes long litigation and its attendant disunity and violent confrontations out of impatience on the part of disputing factions, adding: "some cases take even over 20 years to resolve".

He, therefore, suggested that two deputies should be employed to handle cases in the Northern and Southern sectors to assist the substantive commissioner in ensuring quick settlement of cases.

Nii Amasa, chief of Amasaman, noted that the situation where rival chiefs are entooled by different families in a town is another major cause of land boundary disputes in the Ga traditional area.

He, therefore, advised paramount chiefs in the area to ensure that the right heirs are enstooled to reduce the incidence of claims and counter-claims over authority and property.


Mr Jerry Thompson, District Chief Executive for Ga Rural, asked members of the Ga traditional Council to ensure that people are properly trained and well scrutinised before they are enstooled if the dignity of the chieftaincy institution is to be maintained."

The chiefs of Weija, Gbawe, Ayawaso, Asofan, Amomale, Oshuman and Abeman, all in land disputes with one another, took turns to shake hands as a sign of reconciliation and pledged to submit themselves to efforts at finding a lasting solution to the problem.

Nii Kojo Kwame, Mankralo of Weija, demanded compensation for Mr Seth Aryie, who had his seven-bedroom flat worth over 100 million cedis demolished and burnt by thugs from Gbawe in the heat of a dispute last year.

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