Chiefs question Nana Addo over "wicked" demolition of 100 houses at Danfa

The chiefs of Danfa and Amrahia in the Greater Accra Region have expressed worry over the government's failure to compensate them for demolishing their houses and compulsorily acquiring their lands.

Danfa houses demolished

The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) over the weekend carried out a demolition exercise to reclaim land belonging to it at Danfa.

The exercise saw the pulling down of over 100 structures, most of which were below lentil level and at the foundation stage.

The land, which measures a little over 255 hectares (630 acres), currently houses the Amrahia Dairy Farm and also serves as grazing fields for cattle on the farm. 

More than 100 policemen, drawn from the Accra Regional Police Command, supervised the exercise, which lasted close to five hours.

Led by the Accra Regional Director of Operations, Assistant Commissioner of Police Kwesi Ofori, the police ensured the smooth execution of the exercise, although there were initial protests by some youth of the community.

But the chiefs of Danfa and Amrahia said the government must compensate them for forcibly acquiring their lands or revert the land to the owners.

A press statement issued by Nii Djane Tsulu Afutu Brempong IV said despite the provisions made in the 1992 Constitution for prompt compensation for such compulsory acquisition of the lands by the state, successive government have failed to meet that obligation.

"However, after series of petitions to the government to either pay compensation or revert our lands to us after the project for which the land was compulsorily acquired no longer exists, the government has committed itself to release a portion to the various families," the statement said.

It added that: "Since the land in question is our only source of livelihood prior to the compulsory acquisition embarked on by the state, we feel cheated as we have endured abject poverty for far too long and can no longer wait. Hence, per the promise made to us by the government, the youth of these communities have resolved to put up building on some parts of the land with their hard-earned money to provide accommodation for their families, while they continue with the struggle for their daily bread.

"Sadly, in the early hours of Sunday, 12 May 2019, the Director of Operations of the Accra Police Command, ACP Kwesi Ofori, led police and thugs to Danfa and demolished over 100 structures which were at various stages of completion, belonging the youth, with the various families at Danfa, Accra.

"When some of our opinion leaders demanded to know who ordered the police to supervise such inhuman activity, ACP Kwesi Ofori said he was carrying out an order from above, of which the IGP was aware. Our representatives also met one gentleman called Clement Gyato, a civilian, a known NDC activist and a close associate of former President John Dramani Mahama’s brother, Ibrahim Mahama at the site, wielding offensive weapons while issuing counter-instructions.

"Per the information available to us, a portion of our land, whose compensation has not yet been paid, has been sold by the NPP government, perhaps, to Clement Gyato or to his land business associate, Ibrahim Mahama. What transpired at Danfa on Sunday, 12 May 2019 wouldn’t have been successful if the youth were to confront the police. Ghana nearly witnessed gargantuan civil ruckus. If not for the timely intervention of a senior member of the NPP within the locality, there would have been a bloodbath in the community on Mother's Day.

"While negotiations are far advanced on the release of our land, we are taken aback by the recent behaviour of the police. We wish to state emphatically that Ga lands are not Gonja, Kyebi or Walewale lands. We don’t have gold, diamond, cocoa or timber to live on. The only resource we have as a people is our land.

"We are not sure the NPP government, led by His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, can do this to the people of Kyebi, the president’s Kinsmen, without facing horrible resistance," the chiefs said.

The statement continued: "We, the rightful owners of the lands are presently wallowing in abject poverty, and are frustrated over the government’s failure to revert to us our inheritance bequeathed to us by our forefathers.

"We have a few questions to ask the government, for which we demand swift answers: a. why should the government embark on such a wicked venture on Sunday, if, indeed, state officials knew they were doing the right thing?; b. Who among the state officials issued such order?; c. who is clement Gyato to the present government?; d. Is clement Gyato one of those who have found their way into the government to make the government unpopular?"

By the present happening, it is obvious the powers that be have held us, the right owners of the lands, to the grounds for faceless goons ostensibly fronting for the power brokers, hence the inability of the state reverting the property to us, thus, depriving the youth of these communities of a livelihood.

"Lands acquired by the state for development purposes that were not used for such purposes must be reverted to the owners and not to anyone else directly or indirectly, overtly or covertly, as being perceived in this case. What happened last Sunday, in our opinion, is against the philosophy of the Constitution and in violation of guaranteed fundamental rights of equality and right to property and to life.

"For the very government that shows commitment to do the honourable thing by releasing part of our lands to us to have turned around and demolished buildings belonging to the have-nots in these communities, is strange and barbaric.

"What cannot be done directly, cannot be done indirectly also. This apart, if the state is to be party to direct or indirect sale of our lands that were not duly paid for, which we perceive in the present situation, then the governed may be forced to believe that the objectivity and transparency of the very people we look up to are beginning to evaporate.

"We never voted for the NPP for this. By this press conference, we inform the general public and the government to hasten negotiations which have started long ago, to a conclusion within two weeks, in order for peace and justice to prevail within Danfa, Amrahia, Otinibi, and Adoteiman."

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