Achimota Forest and portions of it which became a subject matter some months ago have resurfaced as the Osu Stool has provided documents dated far back in colonial days as the allodial owner of the forest and other boundaries.
The Osu Stool said that it was the only allodial owner of the Achimota Forest and other Osu-established settlements during their migration from Osudoku to their present location.
Rev. Solomon Quartey Kwatei, Osu Stool Secretary addressing the media in a press conference said that any release of portions of the Achimota Forest to any person(s) other than the Stool would be unlawful.
“We wish to advise members of the Ga Community as a whole to desist from any frivolous claims to the Achimota Forest” he advised.
Rev. Quartey Kwatei explained that the Achimota Forest was one of the villages established by the people of Osu in the course of their migration from Osudoku en route to Christiansborg where the indigenes largely settled.
“Other villages established by the people of Osu include but are not limited to Haatso, Papao, Legon, Achimota, Jawuro (Dzorwulu) and many others”, he added.
He stated that the various judgments of the colonial courts in various land matters involving acquisitions by the colonial governments as well as other land cases took the position that all Osu lands were held only by the stool as allodia owners.
“These decisions have gone as far as confirming that there are no Quarter, Family or individual allodia ownerships of Osu lands”, he stated.
Citing the matter of Achimota land acquired by the government of the Gold Coast Colony under Certificate of Title No. 869/1921 to buttress his assertion, he said that the compensation paid to the Owoo family and the Oku family was not based on ownership, but on the loss of settlement and livelihood.
“The compensation was paid to the Owoo family’s right to be on the land as subjects of the Osu Stool. It is important to emphasize that the compensation was not only paid to the Owoo family but was shared between the Owoo and Oku families”, he explained.
Rev. Kwatei mentioned that the Osu Stool as owners and custodians of Osu lands consciously refrained from making comments on the issues to pave way for their commissioned body with the appropriate legal competence to critically examine the issues and to present a clear understanding of the situation.
He stressed that several documents including court judgements and proceedings dating back into colonial times were examined, and critical findings were made by the commissioned body.
“The 1902 judgements established Obenesu River as Osu La boundary. There should be no denying the fact that Osu Home School near Kaajano Estate, Osu Children’s Home near Cantonments and all road networks in Nyaniba Estates are named with the identity of the four Quarters of Osu”, he said.
He underscored that the 1992 Constitution of Ghana provides that all stool lands shall be vested in the appropriate stool on behalf of, and held in trust for the subjects of the stool by customary law and usage.
“Decisions of the colonial courts regarding ownership of the said lands are in the statute books of the state. We expect all stakeholders to respect these decisions and not to delude themselves into thinking that there are no documents on the lands afore-mentioned”, he cautioned.
He, however, disclosed that the Chiefs and Elders of Osu would engage the appropriate authorities in the government to iron out all issues regarding any contemplated or planned release of the Achimota Forest lands.
Additionally, he said that there shall be various actions to recover fraudulently acquired Osu lands without exception, while also regularising irregular titles on lands belonging to the Osu Stool.
“Over the years, our rights to own, develop and control our lands, territories and resources have been jeopardized by interference with outsiders, threatening our very existence and our identity as people of a particular origin”.
“These interferences in the Stool’s management of its lands which includes fraudulent land transactions and conveyances without the consent and concurrence of the Stool amongst others, have far-reaching consequences on the indigenes of Osu and this practice ought to be curtailed or cease forthwith”, he insisted.
Touching on the lands and resources belonging to the Osu Stool, Rev Solomon Quartey mentioned that some of the properties acquired by their ancestors for many years had been under the authority as pertains to other traditional jurisdictions in other regions.
“The Osu Stool Lands share boundaries from the east coast of Gulf of Guinea with the La stool at the river Obenesu and extends northwards through Shiashi to the left side of Okponglo on the Dodowa road to Ayi Mensah. On the west side, Osu shares boundaries with the Gbese Stool at the river Dodokwe and continues to Kokomlemle through to the right side of Kwabenya and the north with Akwapim people”.
“We are also working assiduously on asserting our claims of Abelenkpe, Maamobi and Dzorwulu lands. Additionally, our legal team is critically assessing the issues relating to our lands and at the right time will commence the necessary discussions and if plausible initiate appropriates legal actions against other traditional areas, institutions and individuals to stake our claims”, he disclosed.
He called on the people of La to understand the issue at stake and endeavour not to confuse political demarcations with traditional boundaries.
“Our Chieftaincy dispute is the cause of these confusions but Osu will ensure that the right thing is done during the creation of electoral boundaries to preserve the peace we are currently enjoying”, he said.
He insisted that all Osu lands were vested in the Stool and therefore it was essential that all land transactions were conducted with the consent and concurrence of the Stool and the principal elders of Osu in other to avoid creating voidable conveyances.
He was however cleared that the Stool would not stand in the way of persons who acquire an interest in Osu lands for development, provided such acquisitions were obtained lawfully.
He then called on the government to revert Osu lands to the original owners in a situation where the acquired lands for socio-economic development for the public good are not used for the said purpose for which they were attained as enshrined in the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.
“…there have been numerous instances of wilful infraction of this fundamental legal provision to an extent that lands acquired by the State end up in individual names and such situations could hardly be described as ‘public interest’ initiative/s”, he was concerned.
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