General News of Saturday, 20 April 2013
Source: Peace FM
Nana Oppong, a legal practitioner, has urged government to take effective, immediate and continuing action to ensure that lands in the country remain permanently under the control and management of Ghanaians.
Making the call at a news conference at Shiashie on Friday, Nana Oppong, a land lawyer, regretted that due to poverty, illiteracy and institutional factors, such as weak enforcement of laws, land prices in the country were woefully under-valued.
He pointed out that if the control and management of land transactions in the country were left largely in the hands of illiterate and poor individuals to deal with sophisticated and rich buyers it would not be a good recipe for the protection of the independence, integrity, security and welfare of Ghanaians.
Nana Oppong suggested that no person of foreign origin should be allowed to have a long-term lease in Ghana unless that person is a citizen of Ghana or a landed immigrant.
He further suggested that only persons who have demonstrated love for Ghana and were willing to be partners of Ghanaians should be allowed to have access to a piece of land in Ghana.
This, in his view, would go a long way to limit the number of strangers who flood into the country to take land quickly and cheaply.
He said no family, stool, skin or person should be allowed to dispose of a greater percentage of their lands permanently or a long lease to strangers.
Rather, he said, they should be allowed to undertake partnership or other creative but beneficial arrangements that would still leave the control of lands in the hands of indigenous Ghanaians.
The land lawyer said if for financial reason Ghanaians want to sell lands or make long-term leases to foreigners all such lands should be sold or leased to the government so that it becomes the owner of such lands.
“The transfer to government shall be made conditional and triggered by a written agreement to lease or to purchase only so that the government gets involved only when there is a willing, ready and able third party with sufficient cash around, so that the financial cost to the government of such transfer would be zero,” Nana Oppong suggested.
Nii Okwei Kinka Dowuona VI, Osu Mantse, who was present at the press conference appealed to government to ensure that land management in the country was put in the hands of proactive people.
Nii Dowuona urged Ghanaians to see the nation as a big family whose protection and development remained the collective responsibility of all and sundry.