Gov’t Did Nothing Wrong; 400 Acres of State Lands Rightfully Belong To Otumfuo – Lands Minister Replies Critics
Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, has in an interview with Kwami Sefa Kayi on Peace FM’s morning show “Kokrokoo”, clarified issues relating to reports about government giving over 400 acres of State lands to the Overlord of Asante Kingdom, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II.
The issue about the lands which include a section of the military barracks in Kumasi doled out to the Asantehene has courted controversies in the public domain.
The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, on Monday, June 7, 2022, called on Ghanaians to calm down as the government hasn’t done anything wrong.
Lands To Asantehene
A directive contained in a letter signed by the Chief Director of the Ashanti Regional Coordinating Council, Mrs. Emelia Ayebeng Botchway, on behalf of the Regional Minister, Simon Osei Mensah is said to have cited the issuance of “Executive Instrument 432 of 2021 by Government in respect of Redevelopment of Sector 18 of Kumasi, which was published in the Ghana Gazette on 31st December 2021.”
The legislative instrument, the directive said, “has revested and released a portion of the state land at the Ridge Residential Area in Kumasi to the Asantehene on behalf of and in trust of the Golden Stool”; according to a publication by the The Fourth Estate dated May 30, 2022.
“The released portion with an area of 409.24 acres spans from the North-Western Section of the Military barracks near Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital. The site is along the Bekwai road as its Western Boundary to the Santasi Round About, with the Southern By-Pass as the Southern Boundary. The land also lies towards Dakwodwom to the KCC/State Experimental School, along the Danyame Stream to the north, with the Cedar Road as the Eastern Boundary.”
“The revested land contains both privately-owned properties to be maintained and state bungalows to be relocated to the area retained by Government,” the directive added.
“All leaseholders of private and public residential and other properties within the revested area are also to attorn tenancy to the Asantehene. This means annual ground rent has to be paid to the Golden Stool by all lessees with the coming into force of the Executive Instrument (E.I.) 432, with the Asantehene possessing the reversionary interest,” it further said.
But speaking on “Kokrokoo”, the Sector Minister pointed out that those lands rightfully belong to the Asante Kingdom.
” . . let me just begin by saying that what we have done about the lands of Asanteman is a huge historical injustice which we have written part of; big historical injustice and I will tell you why…So, in 1943, the then colonial government, through the Kumasi Lands Ordinance 1943, acquired approximately 1235.7 acres or 500.09 hectares of land in Kumasi.
“In fact, the story behind it actually was that the fight, the struggles between Asante and the colonial government and the rest, the British wanted an enclave for themselves where no one will come there, that sort of thing. That was actually the rationale, more like, to provide a safe zone and they didn’t pay compensation when they acquired it,” he revealed.
He also divulged how the documentation of the lands were approved under the erstwhile Mahama government.
On “1st September 2015, President Mahama’s cabinet gave approval for 50% of these lands to be returned to the Asanteman, to be returned to the Golden Stool and that is what we have accomplished for Asanteman to receive lands that are rightfully theirs,” he said.
I’m Disappointed In Critics
Samuel Abu Jinapor was therefore unhappy that people are hurling tantrums at the government for giving the lands back to Otumfuo.
“I’m really disappointed. It upsets me. I don’t believe we should politicize everything and assassinate the character of some people. I’ve heard some people say Otumfuo has used his power to claim the lands and others saying Akufo-Addo has inappropriately given lands to Otumfuo; it’s really unfortunate”, he stated.
He disclosed that “Otumfuo went all the way to the Supreme Court over this matter. He fought all the way to the Supreme Court and, today, we have corrected this wrong; I don’t think that anybody can quarrel with us about it”.
He noted that in order to rectify the historical injustice to the Asantes, a delegation from the Lands Commission went to a negotiation table with the Asantehene so as to satisfy the terms for compensation.
“They had to go to the Asantehene because, strictly speaking, the land is not properly acquired by the State because compensation has not been paid…After series of negotiations, it was agreed that Government of Ghana will retain 50% of the land and Asanteman and the golden stool will retain 50% of these lands, the lands popularly referred to as Sector 18,” he said.