Ramsar site houses will go down -‘Accra Commando’

Encroached Ramsar site

The Greater Accra Regional Minister, Henry Quartey, has served notice that illegal structures at the Tema, Sakumo Ramsar Sites core zone would be demolished.

Addressing the media last week Thursday, the Minister said: “We will go back from here to be guided by the experts to tell us which area, the distance they want between the transition and the core. If they want to create a new core that will be up to them, but, certainly, I can say that some houses will go down.”

This was after an inspection tour, led by the Minister, in collaboration with the Managing Director of TDC Development Company Limited, Alice Abena Ofori-Atta, Chief Executive (MCE) of the Tema West Municipal Assembly, Anna Naa Adukwei Addo, the MCE for the TMA, Yohane Amarh Ashitey, and members of the Regional Security Council (REGSEC), to ascertain the level of destruction caused to Ghana’s Ramsar Site at Tema, in the Greater Accra Region.

The globally recognised Ramsar Site was designed to collect water from various regions of the nation and channel it into the sea. However, the majority of it has been encroached upon by developers, leading to flooding in nearby communities.

Buffer, Transition and Core land make up the Ramsar. Out of the 1,200 acres of core land, a whopping 700 acres have been invaded, and the remaining 500 acres have been filled with sand for development. In total, the Buffer and Transition areas have all been overtaken.

If the Ramsar Site is not safeguarded, the regional minister for Accra worries are that flooding would spread to further communities and with devastating effects.

“It means that those who are living in East Legon sooner or later, will be submerged. Adjei Kojo and Ashaiman is likely to be submerged and at Adjriganor should there be any heavy rainfall it will be affected,” he noted.

The Greater Accra Regional Minister gave the assurance that government would not relent in its effort to demolish buildings constructed on the wetland.

He described as ironic, injunction orders secured by some of the encroachers against state agencies such as the Forestry Commission, TDCL, the Tema West Municipal Assembly and the Tema Metropolitan Assembly to prevent them from performing their mandated duty of preserving the wetland.

According to the Technical Advisor to the Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission, Rev. David Kpelle, the government of Ghana acquired 4,200 acres of the Ramsar site in 1998.

He said Ramsar sites were very important, particularly as habitat for migratory birds and also serves as a control system for excessive floodwaters coming from uplands such as Aburi, Madina, Kpone Katamanso and beyond.

He indicated that he had led a demolition team to the place, but “The Assemblyman, the Presiding Member, the chiefs and land guards came to stop us. Security people came with us and they brought a court injunction. We went to court to put an injunction on the building and the Judge refused us and rather put an injunction on Forestry Commission.”

According to him, there was still an opportunity to salvage the Ramsar site, stressing that the government should go ahead and demolish structures on watercourses, dredge the lagoon and open up the dysfunctional sluice gates to allow for the exchange of sea water and lagoon water.

To him, wetlands were set aside not to be inhabited or developed as residential areas, since such structures were susceptible to flooding. In addition, the Municipal Chief Executive of Tema West, Anna Adukwei Addo disclosed that the over 4000 houses sitting on the Ramsar site are developed without permits and pay no revenue to the government.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here