Lands and Natural Resources Minister, Samuel Abu Jinapor has observed that the de-vesting of lands in the northern parts of the country has resulted in some landowners threatening to sell lands within areas already developed by the state without due process.
He has, therefore, tasked members of the reconstituted Upper West Region Lands Commission to critically examine these phenomena and come out with a better approach to deal with is the canker.
Mr Jinapor made the observation contained in a speech read on his behalf by his Deputy, George Mireku Duker at the inauguration of the members of the Upper West Regional reconstituted lands commission.
He said one of the major challenges in lands administration in the Upper West Region is the fragmented nature of land ownership and holdings.
The task on the shoulders of the members is enormous as it is coming at a time that the land sector in the region is replete with several challenges.
Paramount among them is the alleged capture and grabbing of state lands by private developers which are brought lots of social tension in the region.
Several lands of the state located at strategic places in the region are been alleged to have been ceded to a private individual at paltry prices.
‘‘Investors need to negotiate with a number of landowners when a sizeable size of the land is to be acquired. This at times may be frustrating as some may not be willing to dispose of their interest within the said area. This is not conducive for large scale investments,’’ he noted
Mr Jinapor charged the newly inaugurated team to play a strategic role to ensure that the interest of the landowners and investors is adequately cared for.
He also acknowledged some lands challenges in the region including; boundary disputes between allodial owners and landowners, encroachment on state lands, road reservation, open spaces, water bodies, and the setting of temporal structures such as containers along the principal roads along the roads in the Wa municipality.
The rest are the multiple sales of lands, illegal felling f rosewoods, and illegally mining.
He urged the members to be fully guided by the Lands Commissions 2008 Act 767 and the Lands Act 2030 Act 1036.
And also ensure that there is equity in the functional responsibilities and privileges of all the divisions of the Commission and allied land management agencies as well as the customary authorities.
“The [Land] Commission must be the eye of the government, the ministry will provide the needed backing,” he added.
Upper West Region Minister, Dr Hafiz Bin Salih also highlighted the threats government lands and natural resources in the country face due to encroachment by developers.
On his part, the Lands Commission’s Executive Secretary, Suleman Mahama expressed worry over the sea of temporal structures especially containers at places reserved for roads.
He described the situation as an eyesore urging Municipal and District Assemblies to look for better ways of generating revenues for their assemblies than the sighting of these containers.
The 18-member reconstituted Upper West region’s lands commission is chaired by Mohammed Abdul Haki who was retained for the second time.
They were sworn into office by the supervising Wa High Court judge, Justice Yussif Assibey.