The Ghana Environmental Advocacy Group (GEAG), has urged the President of the Republic, President Nana Akufo-Addo, to abrogate the Executive Instrument 144 (EI 144), which classifies a quarter of the Achimota Forest as no longer a forest reserve, and “preserve the integrity of the entirety of Achimota Forest Reserve.”
In a statement cited by the Vaultz News, the environmental advocacy group noted that, this singular act by the President, “has not only set the country back several decades, he has also let down many who had believed in his words when it comes to protection of the environment”.
“We at the Ghana Environmental Advocacy Group join fellow Ghanaians and urge the President to rescind the said Executive Instrument 144, explore alternative means of compensating the original owners of the land and do everything in his power to maintain and preserve the integrity of the entirety of Achimota Forest Reserve.”Elizabeth Allua Vaah (Mrs.)
The unfolding event flies in the face of commitments and declarations made by the President to address climate change, and exposes to ridicule the intents of the government’s Green Ghana Project, launched in March this year, which came at a huge cost to the country.
Besides, one would have least expected such a move from the President who was once co-chair of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Norway, the statement read.
EI 144 Replaces 1927 Classification of Forest as Reserve
The Executive Instrument (EI 144) comes to replace the 1927 classification of those portions of the Achimota Forest as a Forest Reserve. Coming into force, the EI 144 makes the peripheral portions of the forest reserve cease to be classified as forest reserve. For those portions declassified, sections which had been developed, had already been granted to the Owoo Family in September 2013.
Already, the country is faced with huge challenges: the country’s forest cover is fast depleting, cocoa farms and water bodies are being destroyed by the activities of galamsey and irresponsible mining, etc. “…The least we should be dealing with is the ceding of a century old forest reserve for private use,” the group stated.
Following the publication of the Forests (Cessation of Forest Reserve) Instrument, 2022 (Executive Instrument (EI) 144), this news has been disconcerting to many Ghanaians, expressing their distaste of the coming into force of the EI 144 on May 1, 2022.
While sections of the public are echoing that portions of the forest reserve is being sold, the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor has since denied the claim. Left to time, the reason for the EI 144 and whether or not portions of the forest have been ceded to private investors will become known.
“The very loud public outcry that followed the leaking of this Executive Instrument shows the collective disbelieve and pain of Ghanaians, especially at a time when Ghana has, at various fora on the environment, shared the challenges she faces and her desire to do what she can, in the comity of nations, to combat climate change.
“We would like to remind Mr President that forest reserves are not only helping us by being the lungs of our country and preserving critical flora and fauna for current and future generations, but they are also becoming good money earners as participants in carbon credit exchanges.”Elizabeth Allua Vaah