Illegal structures at Sakumo Ramsar Site face demolition

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Mr Quartey (second from left) being briefed at the site

The Greater Accra Regional Minister, Henry Quartey, has indicated that his outfit will in the coming weeks, undertake demolition of buildings and structures at the SakumoRamsar Site at Tema.

To this end, he has warned the encroachers to halt ongoing development or risk prosecution.

The Regional Minister was speaking yesterday when he toured the site to observe at firsthand the state of illegal activities ongoing on the land.

Additionally, he advised anyone acquiring land or property located at the Ramsar site to stop immediately or face losing the investment.

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“I want to send a word of caution to anyone interested in buying a land or property on these encroached lands to stop it. We will demolish it and you will lose your hard-earned investments,” he added.

He said the planned demolition was part of measures aimed at addressing the perennial flooding situation in Accra and nearby communities.

He was accompanied by the Regional Security Council and the Security Councils of the Tema West Municipal Assembly and Tema Metropolitan Assembly.

The visibly angry MrQuartey asked the assemblies and all other stakeholders including the Forestry Commission to submit all relevant documents on the site next week Wednesday for thorough interrogation, which would inform the demolition exercise.

MrQuartey expressed shock at the phenomenon of encroachers thronging to the court to seek orders banning state agencies from carrying out their duties.

The Greater Accra Regional Security Council, he said, would not entertain such illegalities, adding that; “we will demolish illegal structures to protect government investments in roads and other infrastructure which are easily destroyed by floods.”

He said the demolition would seek to clear illegal structures developed within the core area of the Ramsar site, which was the channel through which water flows into the sea.

In addition to demolition of the structures, he indicated that, the Regional Coordinating Council would pursue prosecution of persons who occupy the land.

Thomas Acquah, Manager of Sakumo Ramsar Site, said currently only about 600 acres out of the 1,200 acres core area of Ramsar site was intact adding that “if development here is not stopped, the whole core area would be developed.”

He said the development has been concentrated on the waterways, blocking free flow of water and causing floods in the area.

More damning about the current situation, he noted was that, the development was destroying the ecology of the site and threatens the designation of the Ramsar site as a wetland.

David Kpelle, Technical Advisor to the Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission debunked concerns that the encroachments have been occasioned by issuance of permit by the Commission.

“I can tell you for a fact that the Commission has not given anyone permit to build here. Rather, the Commission has been served by injunctions from the court anytime we try to curb development here,” he stated.

BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS

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