Farmers accuse KoansEstate Ltd of seizing their lands ; but estate coy denies the charge
Residents of about 14 farming communities in the Ayensuano District of the Eastern region have called on the government to press on KOANS Building Solutions Ltd to give back their farm lands to them.
The communities, comprising of Kyekyewere, Govinakrom,Yawkoko,Ankyeanse,KojoFosu, Abrodiem and other surrounding towns have accused the company of wrongfully taking their farm lands.
Addressing a cross-section of media practitioners drawn from Accra and Koforidua on Sunday, the Assemblyman for Kyekyewere electoral area, Paul Yaw Abedi, described the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for KOANS Building Solutions Ltd as disrespectful.
“We have been notified by one KOANS Estate that the lands in the settlement which exceeds 800 acres have been handed over to them to develop estates and we have, therefore, been served notice to get out of the place or come and negotiate with KOANS, so that they will permit us to even stay where we are.
“Our ancestors and forefathers have lived on the land for more than 200 years and we have settled there over this period and nothing like that has happened to us,” the Assemblyman reiterated.
According to him, the Supreme Military Council compulsorily acquired their lands by Executive Instrument E.I. 31 State Lands (Nsawam – Site for Pineapple Production) in 1977 with an approximate area of 635.20 acres.
The law requires that if you want to use a land for anything, you go into consultations and properly settle those who are there, but nothing of that sort has happened.
“We will ensure that the blood that our forefathers have shed and the energy they’ve put in to put this settlement together are not destroyed just by some people’s selfish desire. We shall not allow ourselves to be wiped out,” he declared.
The Assemblyman continued that the Regional Security Council (REGSEC) asked Mr. Kofi Anokye and his Company during the last of several meetings held between the leadership of the farmers and the company to halt work on the lands till the case is resolved.
He, however, regretted, that the company has decided to operate on the land before even a resolution is found.
He has, therefore, declared the readiness of the residents and farmers in the affected areas to fight with their lives for what belong to them, adding that“we will not sit for Mr. Kofi Anokye to take the laws into his hands and allow him take lands that our great grandparents fought for in some 200years ago”.
They lamented that the Estatedeveloper has destroyed all their crops without any compensation, as well as using land guards to terrorise inhabitants of the aforementioned communities.
The 14 farming communities have threatened to use every means to protect their properties if the government refuses to take action.
Responding to the allegations raised by the farmers, the CEO of KOANS Building Solutions Ltd indicated that his companyrespects the rule of law.
He denied his outfit’s operations on the land and asked the farmers to exercise restraints as they await the verdict of who owns the land by a team of research constituted by RESEC on Monday.
He stressed that he would not undermine the laws of the country and nor demonstrate disrespect to these poor farmers by taking over their farm landsthrough illegal means, which have been their source of livelihood.
To him, the land under review was acquired legally and has administered all the necessary protocols and, therefore, finds it difficult to understand the position of the farmers, since he is acting within the confinement of the law.
He disclosed that the company started clearing the land amidst payment of compensation to affected farmers some couple of months ago, after successfully acquiring the lands, but was asked to stop work by the RESEC.
This, he said, followed a marathonmeeting held by leadership of the farmers and his company after the former raised red flags of ownership and destruction of crops without compensation.
Mr.Anokye hinted that his outfit, which can boast of estate houses located at Pokuase, Kuntunse and Pampamso off the Accra-Nsawam road and many other construction activities it had undertaken for individuals and organisations, has never cheated any farmer.
The company can also boast of a large number of employees (including permanent staff, interns, contractors, sub-contractors and their subordinates) thus reducing the unemployment problems facing the country.
Meanwhile, credible information intercepted from the corridors of RESEC indicate that the company has the right to work on the land and that would be communicated to both parties on Monday.
The paper’s source at RESEC stated that KOANS Building Solutions Ltd was initially asked to stop work on the land to pave way for thorough investigations into the ownership of the land.
“After careful investigations and demand of some documents of the High Court, it came out that KOANS acquired the land legally, hence we cannot hold the company back from operating on the land”, the source mentioned.