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Sankofa:The Facts of the Case between Nkonya and Alavanyo

By Felix Ohene

a) The Alavanyos migrated from Saviefe through Akrofu to Sovie
(near Kpando), to settle on land allocated to them by Nkonya in about 1840.
They created seven settlements on farmlands originally owned by Nkonyas
hence they named some of their villages by the dominant tree crops found
around the settlements – (DEME)-Palm trees, (AGORME)-Date-palm trees, (AGORHOE)
Huts made from date-palm fronds, (ABEHENEASE) over-grown, tall palm tree.

b) In 1913, Haupter Dr. Hans Gruner, assisted by Paul Sprigade
prepared a map, the “Karte des Sechsherrens Tockes”, showing the boundaries
of the six nation-states that surrounded the Togo Plateau – Nkonya,
Alavanyo, Gbi, Santrokofi, Akpafu and Bowiri respectively.

c) In May, 1923 nine elders from Nkonya-Tayi were brutally
assaulted by the Alavanyos when they went to Alavanyo Kpeme on a mission to
discuss an observed encroachment on Nkonya land by eight Alavanyo farmers who
were subsequently identified as Joseph Foli, Togbe Mensah Aniabor, Korkor
Sampende, Trigautt Kosibu, W.A. Dornya, Kwasi Asigbetse, Eugene Prikutse and
Aaron T. Kuma.

d) In 1931, Norton Jones Esq. met representatives of the six
nation-states on the issue of the Togo Plateau Forest Reserve Settlement
Enquiry where they all agreed that their boundaries were as shown on the Gruner
map drawn in 1913.

e) In 1953, Nkonya filed a suit at Akpini Court “B” seeking to
evict the eight encroachers on Nkonya land.
f) In May, 1957 in the High Court, Accra, Justice Van Lare
ruled in favour of Nkonya.

g) In June, 1959 His Lordship, GRANVILLE SHARP J. A. Court of
Appeal, up-held the accuracy and authenticity of the 1913 Gruner Map as
indicating the true boundaries and that defendants (Alavanyo) are “estopped per
rem judicatam” (a matter that has been finally determined), from ever
raising the question about their boundaries; and that “interest reipublicae ut
sitifinis litium” (it is in the public interest that a litigation must come
to an end).

h) In December, 1970, High Court, Ho – Suit No. 28-35/61, 1970,
Justice G. R. Mc Vane Francois ordered the Alavanyos to atone tenancy
within one month of the ruling.
i) In December, 1975, Court of Appeal, Accra Suit No. 112/74,
Justice J. A. Amissah (Presiding), Kingsley Nyinah and J. A. Annan ruled in
favour of Nkonya and up-held the 1970 ruling by Justice Francois.

j) In December, 1980 Justice Mrs. Cecilia Koranteng-Addow
quashed an order issued by the Stool Land Boundaries Commission for
re-demarcation of the boundaries.

She stated that, two previous rulings at the High Court and the Court of
Appeal had up-held accuracy of the Dr. Gruner Map of 1913 and thus settled
the issue of the boundaries.