…Destroy, Sack Landowners From Their Properties
Information gathered by this paper has it that the Commanding Officer of the Army Recruits Training School (ARTS) at Shai Hills in the Shai-Osudoku District of the Greater Accra Region, has led a contingent of Military personnel to destroy and take over lands belonging to over 150 residents in the area.
The development has created chaos and tension in the areas as the Military personnel reportedly stormed the area with a Grader and constructed a new access road through sections of the land thereby damaging properties belonging to the landowners.
Although the Association of Unique Heritage Homes Land Owners at Shai Hills has petitioned the Minister for Defense and the Chief of Defense Staff over the matter, their complaints have fallen on deaf ears.
The residents and legitimate landowners who have legally acquired their landed properties from Unique Heritage Homes Limited are currently living in fear as Military personnel constantly harass them and threaten them out of their own properties.
In a petition dated March 26, 2018, sited by the New Crusading GUIDE, which was written by the Association of Unique Heritage Homes Land Owners at Shai Hills to the Defense Minister, they considered the action by the Military against them as unconstitutional and an injustice to them as citizens of the country.
According to the landowners, numbering about 150, they acquired their individual properties from Unique Heritage Homes Limited after all the necessary documents were provided and authenticated at the Lands Commission.
They averred that they have all legal documents covering their lands and that prior to the acquisition of the land, they individually, consulted official searches at the Lands Commission to ascertain the lawful owners of the land.
“The search results indicted as follows: the whole site Not State Land,” they stated and also added that the search result also revealed that the Unique Heritage Homes Limited legitimately acquired the land from Hiowe Gblaka Makpimnya Family of Doryumu in Shai Traditional Area.
They however indicated that on February 5, 2018, the Military stormed the land and wreaked havoc to their properties and took over their lands without any cause.
According to the aggrieved landowners, the Military has since been harassing them and seizing their building materials whenever they go onto the land to build.
“All efforts to contact and get answers from the Military command for amicable resolution of the current impasse have proven futile,” they noted.
In a similar fashion, the Hiowe Gblaka Makpimnya Family has also written to the Ministry for Defense reporting same harassment by the Military personnel at Shai Hills but nothing seems to have been done to remedy the situation.
In its letter dated May 21, 2018, the family noted that the land and other lands at Shai Hills were erroneously and variously granted to government by the Shai Traditional Council acting per the Chief of Hiowe, Hiomeh and Lekpedje stools as stool lands and same has been recorded in the Lands Commission books.
It said the Hiowe Gblaka family has since 2010 petitioned government to release its lands wrongfully acquired by the colonial masters and post-colonial government by the stools.
According to the Family, the lands in Dangme are “never stool lands” and that the Shai Traditional Council realizing the thievery of its predecessors after entering appearance and filing its porous Defence have failed to aggressively pursue its defence of the lands at the court.
The Hiowe Gblaka family said it is worried at the modus operandi of the Ministry of Defense in dealing with the land in question, because according to the family, the Ministry of Defense has failed to do due diligence to ascertain the rightful grantors of the land.
The family hence, asked the Military to stay away from their land since their interference on the land was causing serious havoc to residents and their properties.
According to information gathered, the said land in dispute was for over 150 people who have started working on the lands in March 2014, whiles the military came in 2017, claiming they have orders to protect the lands.
The aggrieved residents noted that they reported and sent another petition and asked the military police to escort them to the training school to understand the issues, but the Major in charge, Major Adjemagble, said he did not care and that he would make sure he collects any materials the military finds on the land and does not care about anything anyone would say.