General News of Sunday, 23 July 2017
The newly constituted Greater Accra Regional Governing Board of the Lands Commission has been inaugurated with a call to resolve land litigations and land guards’ challenges that are crippling the development of the region.
The 23-member board were tasked to ensure that land titled registration were conducted within 30 days.
Mr John Peter Amewu, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, gave the directives when addressing the members of the Board at the swearing-in ceremony in Accra on Friday.
He charged them to ensure that the development of individual lands were properly coordinated with the relevant development plan for the areas concerned.
He noted that, as representatives of their constituent institutions, they were supposed to focus attention on the interest of their people and not for the sale of lands for their private benefits.
According to the Minister, the region was the most populous in the country with the largest array of administrative, commercial and industrial establishments and, therefore, continued to draw more people to its domain thus, unleashing a very heavy demand for land for various purposes.
He added that the situation had resulted in much uncertainty, disputes, claims and counter claims leading to the disturbance of the peace in many places.
‘‘The dearth of affordable land has led to the shortages of housing leading to the development of several slums dotted in different parts of the region,’’ he observed.
In view of this, the Minister tasked them to come up with policy direction that would reduce the challenges.
Mr Amewu said government had formulated many policies and legislations through the establishment of the Lands Commission to guide development of the country to ensure socio-economic growth.
The Minister reminded them of the provisions of the 1992 Constitution in Article 258 and 261 that mandated them to manage public lands and any other land vested in the President on behalf of government.
They are to advise the government, local authorities and traditional authorities on the policy framework for the development of particular areas as well as assist in the execution of comprehensive programmes for the registration of titled lands throughout the country.
‘‘As you come into office, these are the areas that should constantly engage your attention and come out with policy direction to help resolve the challenges,’’ he emphasised.
He entreated the representative of the Regional House of Chiefs to take particular interest in helping to identify the appropriate customary hierarchies that had allodial ownership of land, adding ‘‘this would bring land litigations in the region to the barest minimum’’.
For his part, Mr Ishmael Ashitey, the Regional Minister, said the region had been confronted with many land disputes coupled with land guards that were unleashing mayhem on innocent people.
He stated that 50 to 60 per cent of issues that come before the Regional Administration were land related challenges and, therefore, urged the Police Administration to assist the Regional Coordinating Council to find a lasting solution to the problem.
The Minister expressed optimism that the members of the board would help in solving the land litigations and ‘‘land guardism’’ once and for all.
The 23-member board chaired by Lawyer Alex Quayenor comprised professionals and individuals who had distinguished themselves in their various fields of endeavour with vast experiences and expertise in land management.
Mr Quayenor, on behalf of the board members, gave the assurance that they would bring their expertise to bear on land administration in the region and work diligently to ensure efficient and transparent land services to the public.
Her ladyship Barbara Tetteh-Charway, a Justice of the High Court, had earlier administered the Oath of Office, Secrecy and Allegiance to the members of the board.