Another Family Claims Ownership Over Atomic Lands

The Nii Odai Ntow family of Kwabenya and Ashongman in the Greater Accra Region on Wednesday called a press conference to lay claims as legitimate owners of the Atomic lands in Kwabenya near Accra. They wore red bands and chanted war songs, holding placards with inscriptions such as "Government, you took the lands from Nii Odai Ntow family no land no vote, Hon. Kwao Sackey, you gave our lands to Gyato, Odai Ntow lands are not for Onomokordai family". Mr Edmund Nii Armarh, Spokesperson for the family, alleged certain faceless government officials and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) were behind the attempt to rob the Odai Ntow family of their rightful inheritance. He therefore appealed to the President to intervene in the efforts of the current Minister of Land and Natural Resources for a lasting peace. He also advised all prospective developers not to commit any monies to any usurper, stating that "the battle over the Atomic land is yet to begin". According to Nii Armarh, the said Kwabenya lands were acquired compulsorily by the Government of Ghana for the Atomic project in 1973 under an Executive Instrument 75/1973 and compensation of an amount of 141,000.00 was paid to the Nii Odai Ntow family and Ashongman Mantse for 503.60 acres in 1975 out of a total of 2002.58 acres of land acquired by the Government at the time. He stated that the lack of knowledge of the representatives of the Onomokordai family in respect to compensation paid for the land were clear indication of their naivety when it came to the Atomic land issues. He said as rightful owners of the lands which included the Atomic concession, the family had since been involved in negotiations with different Ministers of Lands and Forestry even before Government announced the release of selected compulsory acquired lands in October 2008. "In November 2000 and February 2007, the Head of Odai Ntow family was invited to attend a meeting on land compulsorily acquired in Accra-Kwabenya-Site for Atomic Energy Commission," he said. He further stated that just in May 2011, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources also invited the head of the Odai Ntow family for a similar meeting. "If the family was not an interested party in terms of the ownership of the Atomic lands, why would two different Ministers in two different regimes invite us to these meetings?" He asked. Nii Armarh said the family had been quiet on the release process because they had trusted the Government on its promise to finalise the documentation process legally to handover the land to its rightful owners, only for the family to realise that the Onomokordai family had rushed to court and sold the land out. He also cited a declaration by the office of the Gbese Mantse on the Kwabenya lands in 1989 when five different families namely, the Odai Ntow, Ga Gbese and Korle, Nii Owoo, Nathaniel Quarcoo and R.A Quarcoo were contesting over the lands. He said the Gbese Mantse cited the payment of the first compensation on the Atomic concession to the Nii Odai Ntow family as one of the legal considerations in declaring Nii Odai Ntow family as the rightful owners of the Kwabenya lands which included the Atomic Concessions. Nii Armarh stated that the Nii Odai Ntow family had keenly monitored with interest the recent controversies surrounding a parcel of land at Atomic and the ensuing tussle between the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) and the Onomokordai family in respect to the ownership of the said land sold which had been sold to a private developer. "We have restrained ourselves from jumping into the fray because the GAEC which is currently the custodian of that parcel of land is dealing with the issue", adding "we feel it is time to set the record straight," he said. Nii Armarh said the family was however compelled to hold the press conference to explain why the piece of land could not be sold by the Onomokordaifamily, which they claimed were imposters. He argued that if the then government deemed it fit, considering all the documentations presented, and the legal battle that ensued, to pay the compensation to the Nii Odai Ntow family as the rightful owners of the Atomic land, then no other family could dismiss the legitimacy of ownership or lay claim for the same parcel of land laying within the Atomic concession. Naa Korkoi Dugbatey II, Queen Mother of Kwabenya, warned members of the Onomokordai family who were involved in the land tussle with the GAEC to desist from the act as there existed enough evidence to prove that their claims over the land was wrong.