Nii Okwei Kinka Dowuona VI, the Paramount Chief of Osu, and President of the Greater Accra Regional House of Chiefs, has commended the Government for the efforts being made to restore some sanity into stool land administration.
He said this would bring about peace, trust, respect and dignity, not only among stool land owners, but also cordiality among government, chiefs and traditional councils across the country.
Nii Dowuona VI, gave the commendation, on Tuesday, when Mr John Peter Amewu, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, with some Directors of the Ministry, as well as Officials from the Lands Commission, paid a courtesy call on him at his palace, in Osu, Accra.
He thanked the Ministry for the presentation of some computers and accessories to support the effective operation of the Secretariat of the Osu Stool lands, and pledged his full support to every effort by the Government to transform the lives of all Ghanaians.
He, however, condemned the present chaotic state of indiscriminate sale and lease of stool lands by persons who did not qualify to do so, leading to the issue of land guards and numerous court suits.
Nii Dowuona said: “Although our forefathers lived well with government and gave out lots of our lands to it, to in turn collect royalties and also expect some courtesies and privileges”, the State has failed over the years to honour its obligation.
“Rather, royalties payable to the Stool by the government has remained in huge arrears, while the Chiefs had to drag some issues on sales of lands to the Courts for amicable settlement, which has created enmity between the Osu Traditional Council and the Lands Commission.
Nii Dowuona said there had been numerous illegal sale and leases of Osu Stool lands by previous governments and some persons at the Lands Commission without their involvement or consultations, which had created confusion among both groups.
“We need to sit down with the people involved to restructure how things ought to be done to streamline our land administration system, to ensure a win-win situation,” he said.
He expressed the hope that with the current steps being taken by the Government to encourage all traditional authorities to set up secretariats to appropriately manage their stool land issues, all the challenges being encountered would soon be a thing of the past.
The people of the Osu, he said, even though lived in the national capital, were currently very handicapped in numerous areas such as education, proper development and gainful employment, explaining, however, that with the prompt payment of royalties due them by government, these challenges would be readily resolved.
He thanked the Minister and his entourage for the courtesy accorded the Osu Stool, and expressed the hoped it would mark the beginning a great change and improved relationship with the Government.
Mr Amewu wished the Chief well during his term of office, and gave the assurance that the Government was committed to work with Traditional leaders to ensure a well-developed land administration system and also address the issue of land guards for good.
He, however, advised that a formal complaint concerning the payment of outstanding arrears in royalties be made through the Ministry, which he would follow-up to ensure an amicable solution, and, subsequently, liaise closely to work on problem areas to bring about peace.