General News of Saturday, 23 December 2017
Chairman of the Governing Board of the Lands Commission, Stephen Ntim, has said he will introduce innovative measures to deal with the land guard menace in the country.
Recently, a private legal practitioner and deputy General Secretary of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) blamed the Lands Commission for the land guard menace.
According to Nana Obiri Boahen, the commission has over the years, been leasing disputed lands to some individuals – a situation he says results in land ownership fights.
Mr Boahen explained that even when courts of competent jurisdiction have placed injunctions on some plots of land, barring any organisation or persons from developing it, the Lands Commission disregards the injunction and still goes ahead to lease out those properties.
He told Chief Jerry Forson, host of Ghana Yensom on Accra100.5FM on Monday, 18 December that: “Horrible and worse things are happening at the Lands Commission in Ghana and that has resulted in the land guard menace over the years. It didn’t start now.
“I will not blame any government whether that of the NDC or the NPP or PNDC or CPP. The problem is with the Lands Commission,” he insisted.
Citing a case he handled in Sunyani to buttress his case, Nana Obiri Boahen said “a court placed an injunction on a land in Sunyani in 2010 but the Lands Commission went ahead to give a lease for that particular land to some persons. I cited them for contempt.”
“This kind of attitude by the Lands Commission gives rise to land guard activities in the country because people then begin to look for protection for their properties.”
But speaking on the same programme on Friday, 22 December, Mr Ntim said: “It is my aim to reduce the processing time for land acquisition to as low as 30 days. It means if you submit your application, within 30 days you have to receive your land title. People find it so difficult to get papers for their lands, and, so, there are so many people who have built on lands on which they do not have papers or documents because it is expensive to acquire those documents.
“And, so, it is my aim to make it easy for everybody to obtain his papers or documents.
“That will help deal with the land guard menace. You don’t set out that you want to remove land guards but you set out that you want everybody to be able to get title to their lands or ownership to their lands. After doing this, the land guards will automatically be removed.”