Days after Environmental Group, Eco-Conscious Citizens blew alarm bells over the encroachment of Parks and Gardens lands in Accra, checks by the Gh Environment revealed that, the alleged private developer has today deployed hooligans purported to be land guards to protect the disputed piece of land. Our reporter’s fact-finding visit to the headquarters of Parks and Gardens at Cantonments, a suburb of Accra, indicates that about 7 heavily built men are currently stationed at the Parks and Gardens to ward off any persons who attempt to enter the area. Acting National Director of Parks and Gardens, Daniel K Adams explained that, the developer has been identified as Danny Ike Estate Developers Ltd, owned by one Rev Dr Ezekiel. He adds that containers have been placed on the site by the developer and any attempts to remove them have been resisted by the hooligans guarding the area. “We are shocked. This land was given to us by Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah ever since the department was established in 1961 and we are surprised that a private individual is claiming ownership of the land”, he said. He said, the matter has been reported to the Cantonment Police and they are ready to settle the matter in court to protect the state land. “I don’t know what is happening in this country whereby government land can be taken by anybody anyhow, how can you take Parks and Gardens Land given to us in 1961, so what we are going to do is that, they should take their container from the land and we are going to develop the place into an event centre to generate more money for government”, he said. Meanwhile, the Eco-Conscious Citizens is demanding a thorough audit into all parks and gardens lands across the country. The group makes this request while blowing alarm over the alleged encroachment of lands belonging to parks and gardens in Wa and Accra. In an interview with Class News, Awulah Serwaa, founder of the Eco-Conscious Citizens, noted with concern that the parks and gardens land in Wa has purportedly been leased to a developer for the construction of a fuel station. Describing both instances as a mockery of Ghana's green agenda, the group is demanding an investigation into both incidents and an audit of all parks and gardens lands.
The land in dispute
Find details of the statement released by Eco-Conscious Citizens:
Parks and Gardens Land under Siege I hope this is of interest. Ghana's visionary first President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, set up the Ministry of Parks and Gardens for a number of reasons including the beautification of Ghana and conservation. He placed so much importance on green spaces that he appointed a Cabinet Minister, Hon. Nee Ocansey to head the Ministry of Parks and Gardens. Parks and Gardens were set up across Ghana “to facilitate the rapid development of the horticultural potential of Ghana for the benefit of her people through public education, effective beautification and conservation." The vision is for a “Healthy and beautiful horticultural environment for the Ghanaian Society.” It is, therefore, of grave concern that a petrol station is being built on Parks and Gardens land in Wa, in the Upper West Region. At a time when there is Climate Change and desertification, it is unbelievable that instead of greening more areas in Ghana, a petrol station is being built on Parks and Gardens land in Wa. This flies in the face of the vision and mission of Parks and Gardens and makes a mockery of the Green Ghana Initiative and the Sustainable Development Goals. Eco-Conscious Citizens Call for: 1) The purported lease of Parks and Gardens land in Wa, for a petrol station to be set aside, and for a public enquiry into the said lease. 2) An investigation into whether Parliament approved a rezoning of the Green Space for the construction of a petrol station. 3) An audit of Parks and Gardens lands across Ghana. It will be recalled that there was an attempt a few years ago to build a multi-storey office building on Parks and Gardens land in Accra which was successfully resisted by Eco-Conscious Citizens and concerned citizens. Ironically, the motto of the Department of Parks and Gardens, Accra states: Help increase the awareness of the general public to the truism that says: No place is complete without trees A house without trees is charmless A park without trees is purposeless A country without trees is hopeless What should I do? Plant a tree today Awula Serwah Eco-Conscious Citizens Coordinator