A member of the Lands and Forestry Committee of Parliament, Alhassan Suhuyini, has revealed that per information from the Chief Director of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, Professor Patrick Agbesinyale, the ministry has resorted to engaging a land guard to retrieve and protect government lands.
According to him, he is sure that the framers of the Constitution are aware that the President is the Commander-In-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces and he is seized with the capacity to ensure that these lands are protected for the country’s common use.
This, he noted, is why the lands are vested in the President, and the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, which is tasked with the responsibility of overseeing these lands.
With this, Mr Suhuyini expressed worry over the issue and questioned what the fate is for the common Ghanaian who wants to acquire lands and is faced with the challenge of land guards, especially when the Ghana Armed Forces and the Police cannot protect their own lands and have to resort to the use of these land guards.
“In our engagement, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources Chief Director revealed, shockingly, that the Ministry has resorted to engaging a land guard to retrieve and protect government lands. Mind you, these are lands that are held on behalf of the people of Ghana and vested in the President to protect it.”Alhassan Suhuyini
Speaking to journalists in Parliament on Monday, July 17, 2023, Mr Suhuyini raised concerns against the deal. He highlighted that the activities of land guards have been outlawed in Ghana, as such, the state should not be the one to violate laws that are passed.
“So for the Ministry to tell us the lack of capacity of the state to protect these lands that are put in trust but to resort to the services of people whose activities have been outlawed for the protection of these lands came to us as a surprise. We have therefore demanded from the Ministry the terms and conditions of that unholy relationship between the Ministry and this land guard or his institution. We cannot pass laws that we do not intend to keep.”Alhassan Suhuyini
Furthermore, the member of the Lands and Forestry Committee of Parliament revealed that the “shocking part” of the revelation was that, according to the Chief Director, it is not only the Ministry that contracted the services of this land guard but also the Ghana Armed Forces and the Police depend on the services of this land guard to protect lands that are under their care.
“… What was again scandalous was the revelation by Chief Director that this person that is engaged actually has a set-up that the state cannot compete with.”Alhassan Suhuyini
Meanwhile, the Bortianor Traditional Council has called for an independent probe into the shooting of some individuals purported to be land guards by the Ghana Police Service in June 2023 at Bortianor in the Greater Accra Region. On its part, the traditional authority has denied reports which suggested that the individuals were land guards terrorizing residents.
The Traditional Authority indicated that the Committee set up by Parliament has failed to visit the enclave to ascertain the merits or otherwise of the matter. To this end, some of the traditional leaders of the area expressed their frustration about the incident and urged the government to investigate the killings.
The leaders revealed that the Divisional Police, Weija District and the Krokobite Division claimed they didn’t know anything about the incident the day it happened. However, the leaders expressed surprise as the police officers were just about 500 meters from where the incident happened.