Daily Guide has gathered that the suspected wholesale of a 441-acre parcel of land and a village cemetery at Ningo in the Dangme West area of the Greater Accra Region, to a Nigerian lady under very controversial circumstances, is generating a great deal of tension in the peaceful coastal settlement.
The alleged sale of land to Queen Iren Cole, Chief Executive Office of Queen Atlantic resorts, is surrounded by so much mistrust and disaffection that President John Evans Atta Mills will have no option than to heed the calls by the local people to take an urgent look into the matter before things get out of hand since the people are seething with anger.
According to a petition by the Great Ningo Development Forum, made of opinion leaders of the area, dated February 3, 2010 to the Office of the President, the wrongful sale of the multi-million dollar land to a foreigner had serious political undertones, adding the backing of high-profile personalities, including lawyers, bankers, surveyors and even Members of Parliament of the National Democratic Congress.
A video sighted by Daily Guide shows some top-notch members of the NDC at a dinner with the Nigerian queen.
The Great Ningo Development Forum, which is acting as a mouthpiece of the landowners and hundreds of peasant farmers and fishermen, stated that a presidential investigation would be very vital because it believed the transaction was done by individuals who have little understanding of the full implications of their action.
“The Forum further appeals to government to apprehend those members of the ruling NDC who have used their privileged positions to facilitate this deal. It is our wish and hope that President John Evans Atta Mills, who has declared his commitment to accountability and probity in public life, and who is a legal luminary with family links rooted in rural Ghana, would readily come to the aid of our rural people who are about to lose their heritage of substantial farmlands for doubtful development projects”, the group stressed.
The petitioners further expressed dismay at the Nigerian lady’s uncontrolled access to the police and military with which she terrorizes any opposing voice over the sale.
“The Great Ningo Development Forum regrets and wishes to place on record, the ready access Queen Irene Cole has over some elements of the Ghana Police Service and her apparent success to use them to terrorize rural folks ad orchestrate their incarceration in police cells”.
Speaking to this paper, an elder of the Kabiawer Clan which owns the land, Jonathan Hago Taffar, said they are amazed that the Mankralo of the area, Nene Kanor Atiapah III, could allocate land in a manner that would not be beneficial to his people.
“it is a dubious deal. This is worse than Sakawa, and must be cancelled”, he fumed. Another opinion leader, Stephen Nartey said the landowners are very bitter about the deal which they described as a rip-off.
“This is immoral, and no one is pleased with it because it has deprived the people of their main means of livelihood. Government must look into the matter before it gets out of hand”. It is recalled that in September 2009, Nene Ahadier Taffar, Chief of Lewerm (one of the affected settlements), told the media of how he refused a GH˘2,000 offer from the Mankralo over the land sale, hinting of a looming clash in the area.
According to him, the people inherited the farmland from their forefathers and that they have been farming on it for several generations to earn a living.
He said they were amazed when suddenly they saw bulldozers destroying their farms and cemetery. When they contacted the operators of the earthmoving machine, they were told one Queen Irene Cole had hired them to undertake that work. Nene Taffar complained that apart from their farms, the only cemetery and abode for their ancestor was being destroyed by the developers.
He said later Nene Kanor Atiapah informed them that he had given the land to a private developer, and although they kicked against the idea, they again saw bulldozers on their land, destroying their farms.
This, he added, prompted them to petition the Ningo Prampram police to intervene and forestall any bloodshed, but that did not yield any results. Nene Ahadie noted that what provokes them most was the display of photographs of the land on the internet by Queen Atlantic Resort, appealing to investors to partner with her company to develop the land for commercial purposes.
He stressed that while the people of Lerwem were not against development per se, they do not support any move to mortgage the destiny of their generations unborn, adding that the Mankralo had no legal or customary right to sell an inch of the land without the approval of the entire clan.
The Great Ningo Development Forum is made up of chiefs, elders, youth and opinion leaders of Ningo. It was formed to facilitate peaceful development through dialogue with the Traditional Council and other stakeholders in the area. Members of the executive council include Professor J.S Djangmah and Prof. S.T Sackey, while the petitioners include Messrs J.H. Taffar and Stephen Nartey, who are elders of the Kabiawer Clan.
Source: Daily Guide/Ghana
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