Former Central Regional Minister, Kwamena Duncan, has patted the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor for demystifying rumors about the sale of the Achimota Forest.
The Achimota Forest topped Twitter trends after an Executive Instrument (E.I) surfaced online seemingly proving the forest has been sold.
The E.I, purportedly signed by the sector Minister, stated that the land effective May 1, 2022 is no longer required 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 E.I read.
This ignited discussions on social media with people bashing the government.
But the Minister, setting the record straight in a statement, insisted that "Government has and will never sell Achimota Forest".
He entreated the general public to "disregard these reports as they are false, baseless and non-factual. Indeed, what the propagators of these messages have refused to add is that, E.I. 144 was published together with the Forests (Achimota Firewood Plantation Forest Reserve) (Amendment) Instrument, 2022 (E.I. 154)".
"The Achimota Forest remains an integral part of Government’s plan for the protection of our forest cover, and our agenda for aggressive afforestation and reforestation. Government, through the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, will continue to protect the Achimota Forest and prevent it from being further encroached. Government is also committed to ensuring that whatever that happens on the peripheral portions of the land, does not affect the ecological integrity of the Forest," he concluded.
The statement further detailed the public about the circumstances surrounding the Achimota Forest, chronicling how the land was leased to an Owoo Family and the family's petition to the then Kufour government to protect it from encroachers among other related matters.
"No development can take place without the express approval of the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, taking into consideration the ecological integrity of the Forest," the Minister pledged.
Touching the issue during Peace FM's "Kokrokoo", Hon. Kwamena Duncan expressed delight in the Minister's clarifications as he described the rumors as propaganda by some critics against the current adminstration.
To him, the circulation of the initial E.I on social media amidst speculations of the sale of the forest and other accompanying issues were all mischief-driven by the perpetrators but was glad the Lands Minister has boldly brought clarity on the issue.
"This brings a closure to this wild wicked rumor-mongering," he said.
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