The Greater Accra Regional Office of the Ghana Highway Authority (GHA) on Wednesday, stopped an encroacher from developing a structure on the course of the Densu River, at Tetegu, near Accra.
The developer, identified as Nii Ayi Okoforobuo I, Ngleshie Lafa Mantse, said he was constructing a washing bay, after filling the site, which is also near a highway, with about 200 trips of sand.
However, the team, led by the GHA Director, Mr Lawrence L. L. Lamptey, and included personnel from National Security, told him that it was illegal to build on a waterway, besides his project worsened the flooding of the area whenever there was a downpour.
Nii Ayi explained that he inherited the land from his deceased mother and he possessed all the requisite documents of ownership.
He claimed he had no idea that he had to seek a permit from the Ga South Municipal Assembly and other relevant authorities before undertaking any development and declared his readiness to present all the documents he had to the Authorities.
He pleaded with the team not to destroy the work he had done so far on the site because he would comply with the necessary standards required of such a project.
Mr Lamptey, however, made it clear that wetlands were to be protected for the sustenance of biodiversity and environment protection, therefore, there was no way a permit could be granted for the construction of any structure.
In an interview, Mr Lamptey explained that when the Authority saw the development on the waterway, it gave the developer a two week-ultimatum through written notices for him to stop the work.
He, however, overlooked the warning and continued with the work, he said.
“So today, we came here with the National Security to clear the way and block the access to what he is doing, which is illegal. You can see that behind me is a water way and all the water from this area flows through it.
“Now when the water flows and there is an obstruction, it starts to lead to flooding and it’s a problem we’ve been facing for many years.
We don’t want that to continue, so we need to stop that development so that water can flow through freely,” he explained.
The developer, Mr Lamptey said, only availed himself for the first time when he was notified by his land guards that the Authority and Police Personnel had arrived on the land to block his access to it with caterpillars.
Meanwhile, the Authority, he said, would wait for the Chief to present all his documents before taking the next step over his action.
“Should they fail to produce all the requisite documents, the Director said, the Authority would take him to court for trespassing and encroachment and pull down the structures (pillars) he had constructed.
“In the meantime, we are going to create a gorge here, deepen it, so that nobody can get access to the place and put concrete barriers to stop anyone from entering this land,” he said.
He advised anyone who wanted to construct a building to seek the approval of their respective Municipal Assemblies and the Ghana Highway Authority if the building was close to the highway to be directed towards taking the right channels.