Editorial: Time to deal decisively with school land encroachers!

November 18, 2021 By 0 Comments

President Nana Akufo-Addo in 2017 promised to deal urgently with the encroachment of school lands. Decrying the forceful takeover of school lands, the president at the time promised a swift and “satisfactory” solution to the development.

The president made the statement in response to an appeal by the then headmistress of Achimota School, Mrs Beatrice Adom, to help deal with the encroachment of the school’s land.

To us at The Chronicle, the appeal by Achimota School was done on behalf of all public schools and by extension, all state institutions.

Indeed, we at the time felt the urgency in the pronouncement by the president and thought the government of the day was going to act decisively to control the menace.

However, four years down the line, the encroachment of school lands is still a worrying phenomenon that requires drastic action to silence the encroachers.

Infact, encroachers of school lands must not be treated with kids glove, since they are real nation wreckers, who should not be given any space to breathe.

Aside from all the sad stories about encroachment of school lands, The Chronicle is deeply saddened by the narration of the PRO of the STU, Mr. Dickson Kyere-Duah, that some unscrupulous people have aggressively encroached 30 acres of land earmarked for future development of the university.

The STU, which was established in 1967 with less than 100 students as a technical institute, had an initial 166 acres of land. The university has currently developed only 60 acres of its land, on which it is running over 50 Degree, HND, Diploma, Certificate and professional programs.

The Northern Electricity Department of Volta River Authority’s construction of 161KVA transmission lines across the university has taken 42 acres of the land.

As a proactive institution of higher learning, the STU is anticipating an increase in student/staff population from the current 7,000 to over 20,000 by 2030. As part of the future expansion plans, the university has secured 55 and 142 acres of land at Duayaw Nkwanta in the Ahafo Region and Amasu in the Dormaa East District of the Bono region respectively.

However, The Chronicle is apprehensive about the picture the PRO of the university painted, that if the alarming rate of encroachment of the university’s land is not curbed, there will be no land for the university to implement its 2020-2025 strategic plan and the much-touted master plan that seeks to transform the institution into a center of excellence in science, technology, innovation, technical and vocational education”.

It is for the above reasons that we, therefore, join forces with the university, which has served notice to illegal and potential encroachers to back off from the university’s land, since it will use all legitimate means to resist it.

Indeed, the situation at the STU, in the words of its PRO, is getting out of hand and the earlier stakeholders act collectively and decisively, the better for the university and the future of the numerous human resources that it could train.

The Chronicle would, therefore, like to caution those people who have over the years unpatriotically encroached on school and other public lands for their selfish interests, to desist from such illegal activities.

We support the university to collaborate with other bodies to use legitimate steps to reclaim the encroached lands, without ceding any portion to individuals or organisations.

It is also refreshing to know that the STU has given assurance that management of the university would be using a series of coordinated activities to rid the lands, especially the Sunyani land, of encroachers.

The Chronicle will also like remind land developers to respect the laid down measures to avoid encroachment of public lands

One of such measures is preparing the General Building Plans (GBP) for approval by the Buildings Department and Lands Department, the Authorised Person (AP) should ensure that the proposed development will not encroach on government land.

This may be done by providing in the GBP a block plan of the proposed development, together with a table showing the lot boundary coordinates which are in line with the coordinates, shown on the sale/grant plan provided or agreed by the District Survey Office.

Again, grantees are also advised, in drawing up tender documents for construction works, to ensure that the tender documents will specify that the contractor’s setting out work shall be checked by an independent competent person, prior to the commencement of any construction work on site, which is in close proximity to the lot boundary.

Thereafter, the AP is required to confirm to the District Lands Office concerned that, having examined the report given to him by the independent/competent person, he believes that the construction work to be carried out will not encroach on any adjoining government land.