By: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH
The usual blame game in Ghana politics has begun in earnest, as the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources (LNRM), Mr. Samuel Abu Jinapor has roped in Former President John Dramani Mahama and the former Minister of LNRM, Alhaji Inusah Fuseini in the Achimota Forest reserve Saga.
The Minister trying to make a case that the declassification of portions of the Achimota Forest reserve began under the erstwhile National Democratic Congress (NDC) led administration has released documents on the declassification of Achimota Forest reserve to back his claim.
Mr. Abu Jinapor, in a statement, mentions Former President John Dramani Mahama and former sector Minister Innusah Fuseini in their tenure began the negotiation to cede portions of the Achimota Forest reserve to the Owoo Family.
“On 20th March 2013 the Family again petitioned the then President of the Republic HE John Dramani Mahama for the release of the portions of the land,” it said.
It added “In February 2014, the Forestry Commission and the Owoo Family Executed a Deed of Variation to the 2013 leases as a result of what was described as ‘an omission of the root of title and the actual size of the end land’.
“By the said 2014 Deed of Variation, the Forestry Commission granted one Owoo Family another fifty point zero nine acres, bringing the total acreage grated to the family to One Hundred and Ninety-Eight point Fine Zero acres. In a letter dated 4th April 2014, the then Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Hon Alhaji Innusah Fuseini, MP wrote to the Lands Commission to amend its records to reflect the grants made to the Owoo Family”.
Ghana’s President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has signed an Executive Instrument (EI) to declassify portions of the Achimota Forest as no longer a forest reserve.
The EI 144, gazetted on April 19, 2022, indicates that the area ceases to be recognized as a forest reserve from May 1, 2022.
A copy of the document, which has gone viral on social media, said the president is satisfied that the land specified is no longer required as a forest reserve and has indicated that the ecological integrity of an adjoining forest reserve should be protected.
“The District Land Use and Spatial Planning Authority with jurisdiction over the land specified in the schedule, shall, within three months after the coming into force of this instrument, prepare for the approval of the Minister [of Lands], a master plan for the development of the land specified in the schedule,” the document noted.