National Security Council, has issued a stern warning to groups and individuals, especially armed land guards, who go about threatening and attacking innocent members of the public, as well as State Officials on Government lands to desist from the act or face their wrath.
A statement issued last Friday by the National Security Council Secretariat made up of the Ghana Police Service, the Ghana Armed Forces, the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) and the other Security Agencies, cautioned criminal elements, especially armed land guards, to brace themselves for a showdown, should they go contrary to the directive.
Already, the National Security with a combined team of the Police, Military, BNI and the Tema Development Corporation (TDC) taskforce, has arrested eight Nigerien Nationals in the bushes of Adjei Kojo near Ashaiman, with 1000 Cannon balls. The Cannon balls were believed to be used for making bullets for the locally-manufactured pistols and short guns
The operation, which is to protect all state lands nationwide appears to fall in line with the recent clashes between private developers and State Officials, resulting in the demolition of illegal structures on state lands belonging to the TDC.
The Herald is informed by sources at the Ghana Free Zones Board (GFZB) that it has sent an SOS to the Office Of The President, Flagstaff House, Accra, asking it to help the Board led by Kwadwo Twum Boafo to recover its 151 acre-land near Ashaiman from some encroachers, led by a certain man by the title “The Regent of Ashaiman”.
Ex-President Jerry John Rawlings in 1997, while in office, is said to have declared the area – Community 21 – a Free Zone Residential Enclave in accordance with Section 7 of the Free Zone Act of 1995 – Act 504.
The statement captioned: “National Security Declares War on Armed Land guards and Criminals”, gave an indication that the security operatives will stop at nothing to ensure that peace and order is attained, even in the midst of public outcry albeit political condemnations.
It argued that as an Agency mandated to ensure that properties and human lives are protected without harassment and threats from unscrupulous groups and
individuals, it would not compromise on executing this assignment.
“…the National Security is sending stern warning to armed land guards and other hardened criminals to desist from their activities or face the wrath of the Security Forces. The National Security, will not compromise on this threat to the nation”, the statement warned.
Whiles acknowledging the many criticisms with respect to the TDC demolition exercise carried out two Tuesdays ago, the Council regretted that regardless of the effort by the TDC to operate within the law to protect its lands, armed men have marched them boot for boot, making their job very difficult and dangerous.
“In spite of TDC’s attempt to operate within the law establishing it, the phenomenon of what National Security would describe as “Armed Landguardism” has taken root in most of TDC’s land acquired areas”, it said.
It disclosed that a security taskforce put together to patrol and stop encroachers on the Community 23 and 24 lands of the Tema Acquisition Area, had an altercation with a developer, leading to some TDC officials brutally attacked, over 60 armed men he had contracted, resulting in a near murder of one of the Taskforce members.
It said, “in a recent incident, during a routine patrol of the area, the Task Force stopped to caution an illegal developer, only to find about 60 armed land guards surrounding them. In the ensuing confrontation, and to escape the wrath of the armed men, a member of the taskforce nearly lost his wrist, which was severely cut by a member of the marauding armed gang, while a second person was beating to pulp”.
The activities of these armed land guards, according to the statement, are so rampant that in many instances, the taskforce suffered harassments, intimidations, fear and physical attacks from these land guards, who wielded AK 47, machetes and other deadly weapons.
“In addition, the Surveyors of the Corporation find it difficult to carry out survey of the areas as a result of the activities of land guards [and] other criminal encroachers”, it said.
The statement noted that it was in the know of a similar activity by encroachers on lands, belonging to the FZB, adding that it has undertaken a police-military operation to smoke out hardened criminals, armed land guards and robbers, who have become notorious and nuisance to genuine developers.
The FZB, The Herald gathered was on the verge of developing the land into a first class residential estate, when a suit was filed by some farmers, who had been given access to the land by the TDC, through a lease for farming purposes, took the TDC to a Tema High Court in 2001.
In October 2004, judgement was given in favour of the TDC and the FZB, but the farmers were dissatisfied and took the matter to the Court of Appeal, which also gave judgement in July 2008, again in favour of TDC and the FZB.
The Board is said to have once again gotten an investor who is ready to develop the place into a world class residential enclave, soon.
The Herald has sighted documents, including a Commercial and Industrial Bulletin dated Friday, September 19, 1997, signed by John Abu, then Minister for Trade and Industry confirming the ownership of the land.
Also sighted is a Court of Appeal Judgement delivered by Justice Jones Dotse, Sule Gbadegbe and Ayebi, dated July 17, 2008 against one C.K. Seanadzu and 15 others in favour of the TDC and FZB, directing them to recover possession of the various pieces of land that it had previously leased to the appellant for agricultural purposes.
Additionally, The Herald has also seen a High Court judgment, delivered by Justice Victor Ofoe in favour of the TDC and FZB, dated October 29, 2004, directing the two State Institutions to take over the Government land from the farmers.
More to come!