The Northern Regional Minister, Mr. Salifu Saeed has bemoaned the increasing rate of encroachment of state lands in the region by chiefs with the excuse of using the 1992 constitution which states all skin land are de-vested and should returned to its original owner.
Land encroachment as been a major problem trending issue in the northern part of the country, leading to schools, hospitals among others losing hope for extensions.
According to the regional minister, the commission needs to take up the mantle to educate chiefs to perfect their land to avoid private developers to fall within the planned scheme of the state.
“I urge the lands commission to team up with the appropriate stakeholders to ensure that the lands whether occupied or not are adequately protected, even if it would entail seeking legal determination of the status of the land at the highest court of the land. A joint task force comprising of the security agencies, the metropolitan assembly, the land sector agencies and the civil society should be put in place as a matter of urgency to curtail the spate of encroachment on state lands especially in tamale metropolis” he added.
He further urged the commission to take a decisive stand on the grant of large tracts of agricultural lands to developers to avert a situation where in the future, land owners would become landless in their own backyards.
“The lands commission should come out clearly on any directives regarding such grants to enable genuine developers have confidence in the process of acquiring such large tracts of land” he stated.
He also said it was very appropriate for MMDAs to consolidate the clarion call for them to secure land banks especially in the wake of the several upcoming flagship programmes such as One District One Factory, One Village One Dam and so on.
“Our esteemed nominees I urge you to be dedicated to your work, you should strive to achieve a fair and sustainable decentralized land administration system which will be efficient and cost effective. When this happens the economy will be developed and stimulated, poverty reduced, social stability will be promoted and security of tenure will be enhanced” he said.
In conclusion, the Northern Regional Minister Mr. Salifu Saeed said “the region has entrusted you with an important task and we are all counting on you to be able to achieve the development of an efficient land mark and prudent land resource management so by the end of your tenure we will look back one day and pat ourselves on the back for having helped develop our land”.
Meanwhile the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources John-Peter Amewu added that the work of the regional lands commission as far as national development is concerned is clearly cut out.
“Having been carefully selected from your prospective institutions and assemblies, your varied skills and expertise are urgently needed to guide the technical stuff of lands commission. You will need to provide leadership, guidance and more importantly, monitoring the implementation of national policies on land and the ones you will develop the region” he stated.
According to him there was so much potential in the northern region. Tones of resources are being poured in the northern region from all sectors including Government, the private sector, civil society, religious entities and the donor community.
He urged the commission to take special interest in SADA and the ministry of agriculture programmes which are put in place to provide job opportunities for the teeming youth and also urged them to forgo strong mutually beneficial partnerships with traditional authority and make lands available for development.
By: Prince Kwame Tamakloe