By: Michael Boateng, Sunyani
Even before the University of Energy and Natural Resources officially admits students to start academic exercise, both Sunyani and Fiabre Traditional Councils are fighting over the ownership of the land, where the university would finally be sited.
Nana Bosoma Asor Nkrawiri II, Paramount Chief of Sunyani on Tuesday, June 19, 2012, called a news conference where he stated that the land on which the University is sited belongs to Sunyani Traditional Council and not Fiapre.
According to Nana Bosoma, who was flanked by the Queen-mother, Nana Yaa Nyamaa and divisional chiefs of the Council at his Palace provided available documents which include a Sunyani Master Plan, showing the geographical status of the regional capital since 1906 attested to the fact that the Sunyani Traditional Council owns the land and not Fiapre.
He exhibited the documents to the section of the media to support his claim, which included those signed by one Captain Fell and Mr. Cletus Apikebila Azangweo, then Ghana’s Archivist. The Paramount Chief of Sunyani indicated that in 1906, representatives of the Colonial Government, led by Captain Fell visited Sunyani and requested the traditional authorities for a land, to build a residential bungalow and other structures.
Nana Kwadwo Barnie, then chief of Sunyani, Nana Kwaku Kwarteng, linguist, as well as Nana Kofi Peprah, Nana Yaw Twene and others, later met on the issue, and in 1911 the necessary negotiations were completed by the chiefs and representatives of the colonial government on the acquisition of the land.
Nana Bosoma Asor Nkrawiri said the land on which the University of Energy and Natural Resources is sited, which the Chief of Fiapre is claiming was the same land given to Captain Fell by the late Nana Barnie and his Council of Elders.
An official letter confirming the release of the land in contention to the colonial government, prepared by Mr. Azangweo, the Archivist in 1928 was also read at the press conference. Nana Bosoma, therefore, wondered why the chief of Fiapre should now claim to own the same land on which the newly-created University is sited.
Going back into history, Nana Bosoma Asor Nkrawiri revealed that the land occupied by the people of Fiapre was first acquired from the ancestors of Sunyani Traditional Council by a hunter some 100 years ago. According to him, the Sunyani land had a boundary with Nsoatre, Ntotroso, Susuanso, Adrobaa, Odomase and other surrounding towns in the Municipality.
Again, the paramount Chief of Sunyani hinted that the traditional council would soon meet the authorities of the Catholic University College of Fiapre to alert them that the land belongs to Sunyani Tradition Council and not Fiapre.
The paramount chief claimed his outfit noted moves by the chief of Fiapre to claim that portion of the land when the Catholic Church, led by the late Bishop Kwadwo Owusu of Sunyani decided to establish the Catholic University College.
He said the Traditional Council could have raised issues about the clandestine moves by the Fiapre Chief then but that decision was stalled since such litigation could have made the late Bishop and the Church to change their well-intended plans to site the tertiary institution in Sunyani.
The Paramount Chief requested the media in Brong-Ahafo to take note of the revelation as to who owned the land and let it reflect in their reportage, as some publications wrongly suggested that the chief of Fiapre owned the land.
When contacted, the Chief of Fiapre, Nana Opoku Ababio indicated that the case was pending before the Lands Commission, and his lawyers were handling it, therefore, he will not comment or react to the issues for now.