Samuel Abu Jinapor, Lands and Natural Resources Minister, has said, the most talked about Achimota Forest Reserve would have been developed into an Ecotourism Park following an agreement signed under the John Dramani Mahama administration.
According to him, the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo-led government will not implement the agreement signed with Aikan Capital.
He said company, Aikan Capital, was given the contract to develop part of the Forest into an Ecotourism Park, with a release of 227 hectares of the Forest Reserve to them.
He said, there would have been bulldozers in the forest by now, as a way of constructing the Ecotourism Park but the current government will not give the green light for the construction to take place.
He noted that the administration under the leadership of President Nana Akufo-Addo, would do everything possible to keep the forest in its natural state.
Speaking on JoyNews’ PM Epress, the Damongo legislator explained, “The Ecotourism Park is essentially like a theme park to more like level the forest and build a theme park there; leases were granted to Aikan Capital. We have had to come into office to decouple the two issues and say ‘no, the Ecotourism Park is not something we are persuaded [to do].’
“So, for that, we put a hold on it so that the Achimota Forest will be salvaged. Leases were executed in their favour. It’s not taken off because we are in office and we’ve not been persuaded by that move.”
“If I had done so today, Aikan Capital would walk into the Achimota Forest with bulldozers and run it down and build the Ecotourism Park. We will not do that [gazette the leases granted to Aikan Capital] because we want to protect the Forest Reserve,” Abu Jinapor added.
There were news reports earlier this week suggesting that the Government has gazetted an Executive Instrument (E.I.) to approve the redesignation, sale or development of Achimota Forest.
A document from the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, making reference to an Executive Instrument, stated that the Achimota Forest Reserve is to no longer be regarded as a forest reserve.
“An Executive Instrument (E.I.) 144 gazetted on behalf of President Akufo-Addo by the Lands Minister Samuel Abdulai Jinapor indicates that effective May 1, 2022, the land on which the Forest is located shall cease to be a forest reserve.
“The President’s action was in accordance with Section 19 of the Forest Act, 1927 (CAP. 157) which gives him the authority to declare that particular land is no longer required as a forest reserve,” portions of the purported E.I. read.
But, Samuel Abu Jinapor, Minister, Lands and Natural Resources, dismissing these accusations at a press conference on Tuesday, said the Executive Instrument, E.I. 144, pertained to 361 acres of peripherals of the Achimota forest.
He added that the government is returning it to its custodial owners, identified as the Owoo family because the land was not being used for its intended purpose, which included the extension of the Achimota School.