Land Guards Chase Out Kitase Chief
Some group of well-built young men, believed to be land guards, have reportedly chased out the Abakomheneof Kitase in the Akuapem South Municipality of the Eastern Region, Nana KwadwoGyemah, over his family land situated at Apesika, near Fotobi, in the NsawamAdoagyir Municipality.
The land guards, numbering over 12 and wielding various forms of offensive weapons, have threatened to kill Nana KwadwoGyemah if he dares get near or come to his legitimate family land.
Narrating his ordeal to a cross-section of media practitioners, drawn from Koforidua and Accra, the visibly terrified chief of Kitase said it is common knowledge that the Apesika land belongs to the Asona family of Kitase.
With a shaky voice, Nana KwadwoGyemah disclosed that he went to the land where he has a large plantain farm, which has been in existence for some years now, only to be told to choose between his life and death.
The family has about 167 hectares of land, out of which about 70 hectares has been sold to estate developers and individuals.
According to him, the leaders of the land guards, who are from Feteh in the Central region, claimed the land belongs to them and he (Abokomhene) should not step foot there again.
“Ladies and gentlemen of the media, before I could say something, I heard the clocking of the gun and within the twinkle of an eye I did not know how I ran away from the place before they kill me”, he stated.
The disputed land, according to the chief, is a few meters away from the new campus of Accra Technical University and that a difficult situation would arise should the government fail to intervene immediately to bring a lasting solution to the issue.
The Abakomhene explained that, the security of students and residents of Fotobi, Samsam andApesika among other nearby communities would not be assured of security if the unlawful activities of these land guards are not properly addressed.
Referencing the event that led to the death of Asafohene of Awutu Traditional Area in the Central Region, OshipiDarko, with three others sustaining various degrees of injuries in recent times, the Abakomhene of Kitase called for immediate government intervention before another chief is killed.
“As we speak, I cannot sleep in my own house for fear of my life and I have to move from one place to the other. I am terrified and appealing to President AkuffoAddo and the various security agencies to step into the matter”, he cried.
According to the chief, “I challenge the land guards and their leadership to produce their legitimate documents which point to the fact that the land is for them and also they used proper laid down regulations for the determination of ownership rather than illegal means.
“I don’t see the reason why they claim the land belongs to them yet would bring land guards to guard the place and put the lives of residents in and around the area into jeopardy”, he asked.
He indicated that the matter hadalso been reported to the Eastern Regional Police command and national headquarters, as well as the Mponuahene of Adonten of the Aburi Traditional Area, but nothing has been done.
He also alleged that when these suspects are arrested and handed over to the police, they are released through the collaboration of the law enforcement agencies and the leaders of the land guards.
”Some are even processed for court but they are later released and their leaders will call me and tell me that their boys would be released. What they told me has come to pass and I believe the land guards are linked with some of the judicial service staff as well as the police,” he alleged.
Some aggrieved residents and owners of the land have threatened to take the law into their own hands and unleash mayhem on the land guards should the police fail to protect them, since their lives are in danger due to activities of land guards in the area.
The aggrieved owners of the land and residents have threatened to retaliate and face these hooligans boot for boot should the government fail to intervene, since they would not sit down unconcerned for these unscrupulous individuals to illegally take over their lands.
According to them, “we are being forced to also take the law into our hands and go for guns, a situation we are not interested in, but remain the last option if government fails to intervene”.
The owners of the land, who are farmers and estate developers, are of the view that they cannot go to their farms and do business on the land, a situation which that has deprived them of their livelihood.
“We are not going to allow anybody to intimidate us, we are law abiding citizens and it is the reason we have called for a press conference to reach the various necessary state institutions in charge of this situation to rise for the occasion”, they added.
“Look, my dear members of the media, this kind of intimidation would definitely lead to an escalation and insecurity because we are not going to allow them to misbehave,” the chief said.
The aggrieved residents noted that they will not allow the activities of land guards to continue in the affected areas and “even if the government will not deploy massive security to come and help us, we will take the law into our own hands and any land guard who will come here, we are going to kill him.
“We are concerned and are not in support of the activities of land guards. We want the media to help us and carry the information across the nation,’’ they stressed.
When contacted, the AdontenMponuahene of the Aburi Traditional Area, who have oversight responsibility of the area, Nana KwasiA ffum, confirmed that the Abokamhene reported the matter to him.
He continued that, “I asked Nana KwadwoGyemah to provide me with the necessary documents that prove that the land in question belongs to him, which he did”.
Nana KwasiAffum said he proceeded to the land and met some persons claiming ownership and advised all the parties to proceed to court for the matter to be settled.
He has, however, called on the various security agencies to ensure that peace and security of the people in and around the disputed land area are secured, since the activities of these land guards cannot supersede the powers of the security.