POTENTIAL corporate organisations and individuals who are planning to purchase lands from unauthorised land dealers at the buffer zone of the Atiwa Quarries Limited, a stone mining quarry company at Kasoa-Opeikuma in the Awutu-Senya Municipality of the Central Region have been warned to rescind their decision to prevent themselves from losing their lands.
Information available to The New Crusading GUIDE indicates that some unscrupulous, self-seeking individuals and organisations are still buying lands within the buffer zone of the company from illegal land dealers who are close associates of the Chief of the area, Nana Opei II.
These land developers are indiscriminately buying the company lands without recourse to the contractual agreement between the company and the elders of Borduase, the allodia title owners of the Kasoa-Opeikuma lands.
The New Crusading GUIDE has gathered that the houses and other makeshift structures on lands within the buffer zones will soon be demolished through legal means to save the buffer zone and the environment from further degradation and encroachment.
Besides, the inhabitants, mostly private land developers, fetish priests and churches, are illegal occupants and encroachers, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Atiwa Quarries Limited, Mr Anthony Kwame Djan, told The New Crusading GUIDE in an interview yesterday, when the paper visited the site to ascertain the level of encroachment on lands at the buffer zone of the quarry company.
He revealed that their checks have showed that a total of about four hundred (400) Illegal houses and other makeshift structures including the Great Commission Church International have been built on lands that fall within the buffer zone of the company.
A development, he stressed, was posing danger to the commercial operations of the company.
According to Mr. Djan, those on the lands are without permits and title deeds because the company legally bought a 75-acre of the said lands from the elders of Boduase community.
The legal luminary expressed surprise at moves by some elders of Opeikuma to resell the said lands belonging to the company to innocent and unsuspecting Ghanaians and organisations, although his company legally bought the land through lease agreement from them and dully registered it at the Lands Commission of Ghana to mine stone for 99 years which is subject to the contractual agreement renewal for 45 years.
He stated that the quarry company at present was unsafe due to the continuous massive reselling of its lands by elders in the area.
Against this backdrop, he called on the Chief of Opeikuman, Nana Opei II, to caution his people to desist from their constant habit of reselling his lands to innocent land unsuspecting developers.
He lamented that the resale of the land was costing the Atiwa Quarries Limited because “we have bought boulders (big rocks) from Winneba to mount boundaries around the land to protect the buffer zone of the company.
Consequently, Lawyer Djan cautioned private land developers and individuals to move away from the acquisition areas and desist from buying their lands, warning that “anyone caught within the boundaries would be prosecuted and if possible jailed.”
He said they have realised that part of the lands in the buffer zone of the company have been resold to private developers and organisations by some elders of Kasoa-Opeikuma, though they claim that they did not know any of the indiscriminate sale of the land belonging to the company.
“I want to emphasise that those who have not developed their lands at the buffer zones of my quarry company should immediately go and see those who sold the lands to them to collect their monies back…and also those who developed their lands should do same because they will soon be losing their properties on the land,” he stressed.
Again, Mr Djan rubbished allegations by some residents led by the Youth Chief (Mbratsehene) of Kasoa-Opeikiman, Nana Mensah, and a Fetish Priest, Mr Anthony Tetevi, that the company’s activities, especially its current constant dynamite explosion, have been causing damages to lives and properties, resulting in the destruction of building structures in the area.
The seasoned lawyer noted that the company was operating within the directive of what is enshrined in both environmental mining permit and mining licence acquired from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Minerals Commission and Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources.
According to Mr. Djan, anytime the company wants to blast rocks, prior notices were given to the chiefs and residents through the use of public information address system.
He added that in order to guarantee or ensure the safety of residents who were illegally staying within the buffer zones of the company, any time the company wanted to blast, “we provide a vehicle to move them out of the buffer zones before the blasts which even last for ten seconds.
He explained that staff of the company go thorough checks through the community after every blast to ascertain if there was any damage caused to lives and properties.
“We have good relationship with the chiefs and people at Kasoa Opeikuma and we are surprised to hear in the publications that our activities have been destroying health and livelihoods in the community. We cannot bully them and we will not do so because we are one family,” Mr Djan assured.
Mr Djan stated that having been a Legal Advisor to the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources on land-related issues in Ghana, he would be the last person to do anything unlawful and illegal that would cause environmental hazards to lives,
According to him, a series of meetings between the company and the communities had been held to ensure that both parties work for mutual understanding and prosperity.
The legal luminary stressed that the residents including the Fetish Priest—Mr Anthony Tetevi—who made those unsubstantiated allegations against the company were encroachers.
“They (referring to the residents) are encroachers on my company buffer zones. I paid and bought that place legally from the chiefs and elders of Boduase and the Chief of Opeikiman, Nana Opei, witnessed and supervised the land lease transaction between him and the people of Boduase. They leased this land to me to mine stone for 92 years and the lease transaction is renewable.
“I put US$7 million investment in this quarry business but these residents have come to build structures on my company buffer zones which value is below the GH¢3,0000 of each house unit. So do these encroachers want my US$ 7 million investment to go waste?” Mr Djan asked.
He noted that the company has also not reneged on its corporate social responsibility to the people in the community as it has on several occasions rendered support to the people in the form of road construction, bore-hole provision, provided educational materials, KVIP and roofing of school buildings among others.
He indicated that the company has also been supporting schools in the community.
To this end, Mr Djan warned residents who have encroached on his lands to leave immediately or else they will incur his wrath.
The Atiwa Quarries Company which started its commercial operations in the year 2012 produces granite chippings and runs between eight and ten hours a day. Its total workforce stands at 78.