The chiefs of Adoagyiri, a town near Nsawam, in the Eastern Region have renewed calls on President John Dramani Mahama to revoke an executive instrument, which committed all lands in the area to state ownership, and were subsequently leased to former First Lady Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings.
According to them, all 770.74 acres of land within four communities in the traditional area – Ntoaso, Akwamu, Adoagyiri, Owuraku – were confiscated by the state and leased to the wife of former President Jerry Rawlings without their knowledge.
The Mawerehene of Adoagyiri, Nana Otuo Siriboe Safo Kankam, made this known on Accra100.5FM’s morning show, Ghana Yensom, Wednesday March 16, 2016.
He told host Chief Jerry Forson that chiefs of Adoagyiri, as allodial owners of the lands, leased some plots to private developers.
But the individuals, who had gone to the regional capital, Koforidua, to register their plots discovered all the lands in the area had been registered in the name of the state.
Nana Safo Kankam said a delegation of chiefs from the area followed up to Koforidua where they learnt that the 770.74 acres of land belonging to the Adoagyiri Traditional Area had been confiscated by the state under Executive Instrument (EI) 31 and leased for 50 years to Carriderm Development Company, owned by Mrs Rawlings, in October 2013 for a pineapple plantation and cannery project.
The chief further stated that Carriderm was offered the lands at a total cost of GHS3,850, an average of less than GHS5 per acre, with the option to extend the lease at the end of the half-century leasehold agreement if they so wished.
Nana Safo Kankam added that the chiefs of the area petitioned the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources for a resolution of the matter. They took the case to parliament after which the Minister was summoned to appear before the House.
He continued that Mr Osah Mills was asked by parliament to investigate the matter, and the committee of enquiry he set up recommended that the chiefs of Adoagyiri should have their lands returned to them. But title has still not been restored to them.
He, thus, called on the president to use his executive powers to revoke the lease and have the lands handed back to them, to ensure peace in the area. The traditional ruler said the seizure of the lands from the chiefs had rendered them settlers on their own lands.
Mrs Rawlings’ office declined comment when contacted by Accra FM.