The six-member standing committee of the Eastern Nzema Traditional Council
The chiefs of Atuabo in the Ellembelle District of the Western Region have accepted the government’s decision to compulsorily acquire their lands for the gas processing plant project in their area.
According to them, since they could not ‘fight’ the government for taking their lands without any proper negotiations, they had to succumb to the compulsory acquisition as good citizens of the land.
They are, however, not happy with the leadership of the Ghana Gas Company for allegedly refusing to meet the traditional rulers in the area for negotiations on the lands as was agreed before the commencement of the project.
‘Several attempts to get management of Ghana Gas to the discussion table to address the issues concerning the usage of the land proved futile,’ the chiefs lamented.
The chiefs stated, ‘We are not against the project in the area, except that the areas marked for the siting of the project was not lawfully acquired.’
The Atuabo chiefs indicated that since the Gas Company did not acquire the lands for the project lawfully, the Omanhene of the Eastern Nzema Traditional Area, Awulae Amihere Kpanyinli III took the company and four others to court over the takeover of the affected lands.
‘Ghana Gas did not pay anything for the usage of our lands and that is why the case was sent to court and injunction was put on them,’ they asserted.
However, the government had compulsorily acquired the Atuabo lands on which the gas processing plant is situated.
The Minister of Lands and Forestry had signed Executive Instruments (EIs) which have compulsorily acquired lands in seven areas on behalf of the state.
Consequently, a Gazette notification, dated June 13, 2014, had given notification of the compulsory acquisition.
By the acquisition, the lands in dispute at Atuabo, the metering station of the gas project and the right of way for gas pipelines to Aboadze have all become the property of the state in the public interest.
Addressing a press conference at Atuabo last Wednesday, a six-member standing committee of the Eastern Nzema Traditional Concil insisted that the land on which the Ghana Gas Company infrastructure was situated did not belong to the company.
The members included Nana Addo Nreda V, chief of Azule Luenu, Nan Adu kwaw II, chief of Nzema Akropong, Nana Afful Kwaw II, chief of Teleku Bokazo, Nana Bonya Kofi VI, Nana Kofi Amihere III, chief of Eikwe and Nana Nyanzu Amihere IV, chief of Akoto.
The spokesperson, Nazna Adu Kwaw II accused the Ghana Gas Company of failing to undergo due process in the acquisition of the land before the commencement of the project.
He insisted that the agreement concerning the land had not been done yet and that the company did not have documents to prove ownership of the land, adding that even efforts to get them to complete a compensation process had proved futile.
According to the chief, a community like Anokye had been sandwiched between the Ghana Gas Company facility and that of Quantum Terminals Limited, a private gas company, adding that, the situation posed a danger to their safety.
A visit by DAILY GUIDE to the area revealed that the gas project was located close to the main road which connects the three communities of Atuabo, Anokye and Asemdasuazo.
Some of the residents remarked that it was wrong to allow the companies, including the Ghana Gas, to flood the communities with dangerous gas infrastructure without considering the dangers associated with liquefied petroleum gas.
Ghana Gas is mandated to build, own and operate infrastructure required for the gathering, processing, transporting and marketing of natural gas resources in the country.
The project, when completed is expected to process 150 million standard cubic feet of raw gas per day from the Jubilee Oil Field.
From Emmanuel Opoku, Atuabo
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