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Achimota Forest not sold -Jinapor

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Samuel Abu Jinapor, Minister for Lands and Natural Resources

An aerial view of achimota forest reserve

The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Mr. Samuel Abu Jinapor, has rubbished media reports on the supposed sale of the Achimota Forest in Accra.

It would be recalled that after the publication of the Forest (Cessation of Forest Reserve) Instrument, 2022 (E.I 144) news went round that the Achimota Forest Reserve had been sold.

But, addressing a press conference in Accra yesterday, Mr. Jinapor said that the two instruments do not mean that the forest reserve had been sold, but rather contain provisions that seek to protect the ecological integrity of Achimota.

He explained that E.I 144 enables portions of the forest, which was sold to a family in 2013, cease to be a forest reserve, while E.I 154 states emphatically that the area which is a forest shall remain a forest reserve.

“Following the publication of the Forests (Cessation of Forest Reserve) Instrument, 2022 (E.I 144), there have been reports circulating in some sessions of the media that the Achimota Forest Reserve has been sold. The general public is entreated to disregard these reports as they are false, baseless and non-factual…what the propagators of these messages have refused to add is that, E.I. 144 was published together with the Forests (Achimota Firewood Plantation Forest Reserve) (Amendment) Instrument, 2022 (E.I. 154).

“What E.I 144 does is to make the peripheral portions of the Forest Reserve, which had already been granted to the Owoo Family in September, 2013, portions of which have already been developed, cease to be a Forest Reserve to ensure a development that is consistent with the area of the Forest Reserve.

…E.I. 154 on the other hand, states emphatically, the area of the forest shall remain a Forest Reserve.”

Explaining how portions of the land were sold to the Owoo Family in 2013, thereby making those portions cease to be a forest reserve, Mr. Jinapor said that the land on which the Achimota School was situated and that of the forest reserve were purchased from the Owoo Family in 1921 and 1927 respectively.

But following several encroachments on the land, the Owoo Family, in 2007, petitioned the government at the time to release portions of the land adjoining the Tema Motorway, which the government agreed to.

However, the lease agreement was not executed until 2013 when the president at the time gave approval of the release of the land to the Owoo Family, the Minister said.

Mr. Jinapor continued that despite the approval by the President making the Owoo Family owners of that portion of the land it still could not be develop into anything because it remained a forest reserve.

“This led to the publication of the two instruments, the Forests (Cessation of Forest Reserve) Instrument, 2022 (E.I 144), and the Forests (Achimota Firewood Plantation Forest Reserve) (Amendment) Instrument, 2022 (E.I. 154). The first makes the peripheral portions of the Forest Reserve, which had already been granted to the Owoo Family in 2013, with portions developed, cease to be a Forest Reserve. The second amends the area of the land that should continue as Forest Reserve,” the Minister said.

He said the Achimota Forest remained an integral part of Government’s plan for the protection of our Ghana’s cover, and the agenda for aggressive afforestation and reforestation.

He concluded that government through the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources will continue to protect the Achimota Forest and prevent it from being further encroached and also said that the government is committed to ensuring that whatever that happens on the peripheral portions of the land does not affect the ecological integrity of the forest.

AGNES ANSAH

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