The Coalition of La Associations (COLA) are calling on the Minister for Defence, Mr. Dominic Ntiwul and the government of the day, to return lands belonging to the people of La as promised.
“The conduct of the Minister for Defence, Mr. Dominic Ntiwul in particular, is reprehensible. In addition to the above, Mr. Dominic Ntiwul, with the connivance of top Lands Commission Officials are engaging and/or encouraging the wanton plotting of public lands in the names of Private persons.
Mr. Ntiwul was present at several meetings with our executives as at some site visits and promised to secure for La several hundreds of acres of it’s lands. Mr. Ntiwul intimated that the previous government took those lands by force but the current government Will do well to resolve any issues and return same for the benefit of La”.
This came to light, when Coalition of La Associations (COLA) presented a petition in connection with the return of La lands and allerged brutalities being mated to them by the Military after taking their lands, to the Greater Accra Regional Minister Hon. Ishmael Ashietey.
” Mr. Dominic Ntiwul, where are our lands?? Rather than giving the land as promised, attempts are being made by you to frustrate efforts,” they stated.
According to COLA, the La lands stretches from the coast to the Akuapim Hills and have been used for Transport and Aviation, Housing, National Defence, Recreation and Social Amenities, Education, Food and Agriculture, Commerce and Industry.
Presenting the petition, Vice President of La Associations (COLA), Mr. Daniel M.K Okpoti disclosed that, the Association together with the people of La are only seeking for what is fair, reasonable, right and just. “We are only asking this government to treat La with respect and dignity”.
He averred that, the Constitution of Ghana says when land is acquired fairly adequate compassion ought to be paid and that is exactly what La people are saying.
“The same Constitution guarantees rights of property. La is saying, ‘Leave us to enjoy our ownership rights over lands that we own and has not been acquired by government or anyone else’. La is saying, return our unused and undeveloped lands”.
Government Mr. Okpoti indicated, cannot take their lands and decided not to pay compensation, adding that government again cannot forcefully seize La lands without a proper acquisition and brutalize and oppress the citizens on their own land.
“We are by this letter calling on government to pay close attention to the state of affairs as indicated. We call on government and demand that all issues relating to La lands be dealt with immediately.
Citizens of La he pointed out, have been brutalized and severely beaten up by the Military and government agents because of their presence on the land which government has not acquired and belongs to La.
The current government according to the Association with it’s agents, and one Clement Gyato, have recently razed down an entire La village which have for decades, remained a royal heritage.
“What makes the situation worse is the fact that it appears that clear attempts are being made by the government to compromise the lands and to grant them out to third parties without any resort to La.
The high-ranking officials of the Lands Commission are complicit and several government appointees are also complicit”.
The Greater Accra Regional Minister, Hon. Ishmael Ashietey who received the petition, assured that, he would equally present to the President of the land since, he has the final say.
“So after going through, I will talk to the President and it is he who is the only person who can decide whether to give them the land or not. Any decision that he would take, I will convey back to them.