The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, says the acreage of the Achimota Forest to be returned to the Owoo family was determined by the Afare-Dartey Committee during the erstwhile Mahama administration.
According to him, his outfit simply approved what had been done by the previous government and had by no means any hand in how much acreage was to be returned to the Owoo family.
His claims come after concerns were raised about the amount of acreage to be released to the Owoo family.
The Minister, at a press conference on Tuesday, May 17, said the Executive Instrument, E.I. 144 which ordered the cessation of the Reserve status of the Achimota Forest pertained to 361 acres of peripherals of the forest that the government is returning to its custodial owners, the Owoo family, because the land was not being used for its intended purpose, which included the extension of the Achimota School.
However, those in the Minority in Parliament and some Civil Society Organisations have argued that the Owoo family is entitled to only 90 to about 100 acres of the land instead of the 361 acres being mentioned by the Lands Minister.
Reacting to these claims, the Lands Minister said, “Everything I have done I inherited it; the matters to do with the acreage, all of it. We never made any determination about acreage, we never made any determination about whether they’re entitled, what acreage they’re entitled to and so on and so forth.
“All of those were inherited. And those were done by the Afare-Dartey committee. Those determinations were made by the Afare-Dartey committee. All we have had to do was to amend the E.I, the Forest Reserve E.I in order to de-gazette the part which has already been determined and agreed upon.”
He stated that their concerns about the acreage have been noted and his Ministry will interrogate all claims being made.
“Look I’ve heard people raise issues about the acreage, I wouldn’t say I come to these matters totally above board, we will take a look at it, that’s what I can say. That’s what I can say for the time being, we’ll tyake a look at it. If it’s such a major issue we will take a look at it, and the chips will fall where they may.
“I’ll have no difficulty before I come to the conclusion that the acreage is too much or any examination or interrogation were to come to the conclusion that the acreage is too much, we’ll act upon it,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Minister has insisted the government is not selling the land. According to him, plans are rather afoot to upgrade the Achimota Forest into a world-class asset.