Members of the Atebubu-Amantin District Assembly in the Brong Ahafo Region have urged the management of the assembly to take steps to protect all public lands within its jurisdiction.
This is to halt the indiscriminate sale of these lands by traditional authorities and their agents in the district.
The Assembly members, who were so passionate about the issue ,cited the sale of a parcel of public land along the main Atebubu-Yeji road by some chiefs and their agents to a private developer who had also written to the assembly to demolish structures on the land to make way for a new building.
According to the assembly members, the land in question was the government’s transit quarters which was currently housing government workers and national service persons posted to the district.
They said this was just one of the classical examples of the way some chiefs and their agents were disposing of public lands and there was, therefore, the need for the assembly to act now to nip such a practice in the bud.
The assembly members also served notice to some of their colleagues who were in league with the traditional authorities to sell public lands to desist from such unhealthy and unpatriotic acts or else they would be made to face the consequences.
The issue of alleged indiscriminate sale of public lands by chiefs and their agents in the district, especially in the district capital, Atebubu, came up for discussion on the floor of the assembly during the first ordinary meeting of the Atebubu-Amantin District Assembly at Atebubu.
The members said if the assembly did not take immediate steps to protect government lands, the situation would degenerate to what was happening in Accra and other parts of the country where indiscriminate sale of land had led to the loss of lives and property.
They said it would also lead to the formation of land guards, since many of these lands had been sold to two or more people at a time.
The assembly members cited the lead story of the Wednesday, March 24 edition of the Daily Graphic to buttress their point.
They quoted the story which said in part that "chieftaincy and land disputes in two villages in the Northern and Greater Accra regions exploded into violent clashes and mayhem when a group of irate youth decided to take the law into their own hands".
"If the assembly, which is seen as the local body for legislation and good governance, does not take immediate steps to halt this unhealthy development in our district, we would be experiencing such culture of impunity in the near future and posterity would not forgive us," they noted.
The assembly members noted that this was the time for the assembly to act to secure all public lands so as to ensure orderly development in the district and also to prevent the incidence of land guards.
The assembly members said their investigations into the indiscriminate sale of public lands in the district had revealed that some chiefs and their agents in the business were claiming that there were no documents covering these lands.
According to the members, there was, therefore, the need for urgent steps by the management of the assembly to ensure proper documentation to halt the sale of the lands.
Mr. Sanja Nanja, the Atebubu-Amantin District Chief Executive (DCE), in his response to the issue said the problem was within the assembly’s purview and steps were being taken to halt this unhealthy development.
He said plans were also underway to engage chiefs on the issue, since they were the custodians of the land.
Mr Nanja added that the assembly had also contacted the Lands Commission to come to its aid to enable it to properly demarcate and document all public lands in the district to prevent encroachment, as well as protect them for posterity.