By: Okunyin Boaz Orlan-Hackman
A Land Management Specialist, Sulemana Mahama, has called for a closer collaboration between Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies and Chiefs/Landowners in the planning of the use of lands. This, according to him, will enhance the efficiency and effective land administration as well as curb land litigations and conflicts.
Alhaji Mahama made the call at a capacity building workshop organized by the Ga East Municipal Assembly for stakeholders; Chiefs, Landowners and staff of the Assembly at Abokobi.
The workshop was on the theme “Efficient and Effective Land Administration in the Ga East Municipality”.
Opening the workshop, the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), Hon. John Kwao Sackey, underscored the significance of the Assembly as the Planning authority as legislated by the Local Government Act, 1993. He added that the Assembly therefore had the “authority to approve all developments either physical or otherwise”.
He advised all the landowners to subject their land layouts for conformity with the development plan of the Assembly.
The MCE also lamented on the lack of knowledge by many landowners of the existence of rules and regulations governing lands in Ghana.
“Many landowners are unaware of the national statutory rules and regulations guiding land management, land use planning and development in this country”, he stated, adding that “the situation has led to numerous land conflicts, incidences of landguards, haphazard developments due to use of multiple approved schemes, distortions in development planning and poor infrastructure development and distribution”.
Hon. Sackey also expressed concern about landowners who “sell lands without approved layouts with clearly defined roads, school lands, sanitary sites, recreational sites. In effect, no empty spaces are left for future use”.
He noted that the situation necessitated the sourcing of the services of land experts to build the capacities of major stakeholders in land and encouraged the participants to be attentive the training to acquire knowledge for efficient and effective administration of lands in the municipality.
Alhaji Sulemana Mahama, a Land Management Specialist, in his presentation, identified the complexity and cumbersomeness of land documentation, multiplicity of laws and institutional actors, and weak capacity for land documentation and registration as the bane of land administration in the country.
He said for a land document to be deemed valid and properly acquired, the parties involved must have the capacity to transact, their names and addresses published, and the land must be described adequately in conformity with the Survey Act 1962 (Act 127) and the Legislative Instrument, LI 1444 of 1989. Additionally, the consideration must be stated and the date of the transaction disclosed.
Alhaji Mahama further noted that the whole country was reliant on only two Land Title Registration Areas; Accra and Kumasi which he said were woefully inadequate to meet the demands of land documentation and registration.
He was however happy about plans to create additional regional offices and expressed optimism that the move will help address some of the challenges.
He further suggested that the Assembly makes available to the public layouts of the various communities to avoid litigations and conflicts which result from the multiple sales of lands with some developers encroaching on public land and reserved land areas for communal interests.
“Layouts are not the property of the Assembly. It is for the entire municipality so you must make efforts to make them public as practicable as you can to enable developers know the nature and scope of land they purchase or are given to them to develop”, Alhaji Mahama advised.
Touching on the value of land in some parts of the capital and the potential benefits accrued to landowners and planning authorities, the Land Management Specialist implored the Assembly, chiefs and landowners to collaborate to ensure that lands are properly acquired and judiciously utilized to the benefit of the people and the Assembly.
To this effect, a member of the Kwatei Family of Gbawe, Solomon Afutu Quartey, shared their success story in land administration, mentioning the award of scholarships to native children by developers who use their lands and other community-owned assets such as Fuel Stations as some of the numerous benefits they had reaped from the sale of lands.
The Kwabenya District Police Commander, Superintendent Victoria Yamoah, in response to concerns raised about the land guard menace, advised the Chiefs and landowners not to shield landguards who perpetrate acts of violence and criminalities in the communities but to hand them over to the police for the necessary actions to be taken.
“If you shield them in the day as they work for you, they will turn around in the night to rob you and other inhabitants”, the District Commander emphasized.
She also pleaded to the judiciary to make available to the Police Service court rulings on land cases to enable the service expedite action on arresting unlawful occupants and protect rightful landowners.
The Former Presiding Member of the Assembly, Hon. Edward Ayitey Aryee, who chaired the programme, expressed delight about the organization of the workshop and encouraged the participants to put what they had learnt into practice to help solve the numerous land administration problems they faced in their respective communities.
WORKSHOP IN PIX