In January 2022, the Minister of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development, Mr Daniel Botwe constituted a task force to look into the encroachment on the lands belonging to the Department of Parks and Gardens. The move, he said, was to help reclaim all the lands of the department that had been encroached on by individuals. Even before the already encroached lands could be reclaimed by the government, the Upper West Regional Department of Parks and Gardens is currently battling with land encroachment on its operational sites in Wa. The encroachers have built houses and there is also a filling station currently under construction on the land. In a statement, the Eco-Conscious Citizens say, they are disappointed to hear that Parks and Gardens lands are being encroached on in Wa, the Upper West Region Regional capital, and that one of the buildings under construction on Parks and Gardens land is a petrol station.
Some of the encroached house
“It appears that we pay lip service to Climate Change, Green Ghana, Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), and attend COP meetings, but have no appreciation or regard for open spaces, combating climate change or reaching the SDGs”, the statement signed by Awula Serwa, Eco-Conscious Citizens founder said. The statement further said “We are relentlessly destroying our green spaces. For example: E.I. 144 Forests (Cessation Of Forest) Instrument 2022 declassified parts of Achimota Forest Reserve - the lungs of Accra, and L.I. 2462 Environmental Protection (Mining in Forest Reserves) Regulations has virtually given open access to our forest reserves, including globally significant biodiversity areas”. Eco-Conscious Citizens are therefore demanding that Parliament invite Hon. Daniel Botwe, the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development under whose Ministry Parks and Gardens falls, to explain why there is encroachment and construction on Parks and Gardens land in Wa.
They also want the Environmental Protection Agency and Wa Municipal Assembly Chief Executive, Hon. Tahiru Issahaku Moomin to confirm whether licences and building permits have been granted for private buildings on Parks and Gardens land. “Ghanaians to be active citizens, not spectators, and to say Hands Off Our Green Spaces and Hands Off our Parks and Gardens”, the statement added.