We don’t sell lands, we lease them- Lands Commission refutes Minority Leader’s claims over Tamale Timber market land

Source:savannanews24.com:

The Northern Regional Lands Commission has refuted claims by the Minority Leader and Member of Parliament for Tamale South Constituency Hon. Haruna Iddrisu that the Lands Commission sold the Tamale Timber market land to a private developer.

According to the Lands Commission, the Commission does not sell state lands but leases them to developers for the benefit of society, adding that, those who are peddling this falsehood are doing so to enhance their political objectives and promote insecurity for their personal aggrandizement.

The Tamale South MP interacting with his constituents on Saturday 1st May 2021 claimed that the government has sold the Tamale Timber market land and demand that government reverse that sale of the land.

Mr. Iddrisu also alleged that the said land was the property of the Forestry Commission.

Addressing a Press Conference in Tamale, Thursday, the Northern Regional Chairman of the Lands Commission, Lawyer Dubik Mahama Yakubu describes the Minority Leader claims as unfortunate and misleading.

He reiterated that the timber market has not been sold to anybody and no individual and group of persons have been served with notices to vacate the timber market as Mr. Haruna Iddrisu wants the world to believe.

“The Lands Commission finds this statement by the Honourable Member of Parliament rather unfortunate and misleading. The Commission wishes to inform the general public and particularly people doing business in the market that the timber market has not been sold to anybody. It was also not true that those occupying the place and doing business in the timber market have been served with notices to vacate the place. No notice as served on anyone and the Hon. Member of Parliament can attest to the fact that as to whether those he met that day showed him copies of notices that were served on them”. He said

“Furthermore, his assertion that the timber market is a property of Forestry Commission is not accurate as the record held at the Lands Commission does not reflect that assertion”. He added

Lawyer Dubik revealed that the only plot that was given to a private developer was not part of the Timber market land but a commercial plot which was allocated to a Tamale businessman to build an ultra-modern mall for the people of Tamale.

“The plot that was lease to the developer is a commercial plot by the roadside between the Commercial Bank and the Shell Filling Station part of which was used by GNTC of old. There is, in fact, a road separating this site from the timber market. It is to be used for a commercial purpose just as the old GNTC was a commercial entity. This is all that there is to the issue and nobody has sold out the market or asked anybody to vacate the place”. He explained

 

The Lands Commission’s Chairman said the Tamale timber market is a State Land which is covered by planning scheme or a layout, saying “People who do business there have been on this land for several years without paying anything to the state. It is inconceivable however for anybody to attempt to move these people from there and give the place to another. What we can be done, to help them regularize their stay thereby requesting them to apply for lease to cover their holdings”. He

Lawyer Dubik said, regularising the stay of businesses at the timber market will provide more security for them, saying that, the idea was mooted last year but preliminary discussion with their leaders did not go far.

He noted that, Lands Commission is the only body which manages state lands in the country, therefore, for someone to say it can direct the Commission as to how the state lands are managed is a misconception which defies description.

Lawyer Dubik Mahama emphasized that. the Land Commission follows due process in allocating lands in the three Northern Regions including, Northern Region, North-East and Savannah.

“So as a professional lawyer I do not intend to superintend over mismanagement lands in these regions. For the past four years, we have managed the lands in the regions creditably and the three kings and their elders can attest to this”.

He hinted that, Lands Commission under his administration has been instructed to decentralized and set up the lands Administration in the three Northern Regions. “We are busily liaising up with Chiefs, opinion leaders, and all stakeholders to ensure a peaceful and orderly transfer of files to Damongo and Nalerigu in furtherance of the creation of the respective Lands Commission Administration therein”.He added

The Lands Commission Chairman noted that, the commission is working with the custodians of the lands and so far their relationship with the chiefs and tradional authorities in managing the affairs lands and it related issues has been excellent.

Lawyer Dubik thanked the overlords of Dagbon, Gonja, Mamprugu and Nanum kingdoms and their elders for their unflinching support for the Lands  Commission in their respective Regions.

The Northern Regional Surveyor of the Lands Commission, Mr. Benjamin Jojoe Adu-Hanson hinted that, the 14.4 acres of land occupied by businesses at the timber market have never paid any pesewa to the state, reiterated that, the duty of the lands commission is to also generate income for the state.

He said, the Commission has started an educational derive to conscientise the public about the works of the Lands Commission.

Read  below press release:

PRESS RELEASE MAY 20, 2021
A REJOINER TO THE STATEMENT BY THE MINORITY LEADER AND MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT FOR TAMALE SOUTH CONSTITUENCY ON THE PURPORTED SALE OF TIMBER MARKET LAND IN TAMALE BY THE LANDS COMMISSION
The attention of the Northern Regional Lands Commission has been drawn to a statement by the Minority Leader and Member of Parliament for Tamale South Constituency Hon. Haruna Iddrisu in which he has made a demand on the government to reverse the sale of the timber market in Tamale. He alleged that the said land was the property of the Forestry Commission which has been offered for sale to private developers while operatives of the timber market have been given notices to vacate the place.
He made this call while interacting with some of his constituents in the area on Saturday 1st May, 2021. The statement of the Hon. Member of Parliament was broadcast in the Joy News Bulletin on the same day and also published on online new portal www.myjoyonline.com on 1st May, 2021 at 7:31pm.
The Lands Commission finds this statement by the Honorable Member of Parliament rather unfortunate and very misleading. The Commission wishes to inform the general Public and, particularly people doing business in the market that the timber market has not been sold to anybody. It was also not true that those occupying the place and doing business in timber market have been served with notices to vacate the place. No notice was served on anyone and the Hon. Member of Parliament can attest to the fact as to whether those he met that day showed him copies of notices that were served on them.
Furthermore, his assertion that the timber market is a property of the Forestry Commission is not accurate as the record held at the Lands Commission does not reflect that assertion.
The point must be made that the timber market is a State Land which covered by planning scheme or a layout. People who do business there have been on this land for several years without paying anything to the state.
It is inconceivable however for anybody to attempt to move these people from there and give the place to another person. What can be done, to them to regularize their stay thereby requesting them to apply for leases to cover their holdings? Among other things, this would provide security of tenure to them. The idea was mooted last year but preliminary discussion with their leaders did not go far. That was where it ended and no one has given the place to anybody.
The plot that was leased to the developer is a commercial plot by the roadside between the Commercial Bank and the Shell Filling Station part of which was used by GNTC of old. There is, in fact, a road separating this site from the timber market. It is to be used for a Commercial purpose just as the old GNTC was commercial entity. This is all that there is to the issue and nobody has sold out the market or asked anybody to vacate the place.
On the alleged indiscriminate disposition of Public lands in Tamale. I wish to submit that the Lands Commission as a Constitutional body exists, among other things, to manage Public Lands. This did not begin with this current government and will not end with it. Indeed in the inaugural address of the President to members of the National Lands Commission on the day of their inauguration on Thursday 24th August 2017, he reminded members about what they told the good people of Ghana in the NPP’s 2016 Manifesto for which the Party was voted into power. Among other things, the Commission was charged to ‘Release Publicly held lands for productive use as freeing up surplus and underutilized lands held by public departments for housing and Commercial developments will boost economic development and reduce the housing deficit”. This, among other things, was a charge the President gave the Commission and hoped and expected that the later he will ensure the full and speedy implementation of these initiatives.
Everything done under our tenure was thus consistent with execution of that charge given by the President to ensure that his vision for the good people of Ghana was actualized. We were also guided by the rules and regulation that govern the Commission by ensuring that were appropriately designed and executed.
As Chairman of the Commission in the Region, I have personally spoken to the MP and explained the issues to him. It is hoped that he will in future verify the veracity of any information given him before going into the public domain.
I was appointed by his Excellency President Akufo Addo to supervise the Land Administration in the three (3) Regions in accordance with the law. There is also the question of a group calling itself Coalition of Citizens of Tamale against the sale of government lands which is undermining the peace and stability of Tamale.
The Commission is glad to hear that they are concerned about government land. Lands Commission is the only body which manages state lands in the country, therefore, for someone to say it can direct the Commission as to how the state lands are managed is a misconception which defies description.
It is important to note that the Lands Commission does not sell state lands but leases them to developers for the benefit of society. Those who are peddling this falsehood are doing so to enhance their political objectives and promote insecurity for their personal aggrandizement. The Land Commission follows due process in allocating lands in the three Northern Regions which are under control as Chairman namely, Northern Region, North-East and Savannah so as a professional lawyer I do not intend superintend over mismanagement lands in these regions. For the past four years, we have managed the lands in the regions creditably and the three kings and their elders can attest to this.
Lands Commission under my administration has been instructed to decentralized and set up the lands Administration in this part of the country. We are busily liaising up with Chiefs, opinion leaders and all stakeholders to ensure peaceful and orderly transfer of files to Damongo and Nalerigu in furtherance of the creation of the respective Lands Commission Administration therein.
It is therefore unfortunate for some few disgruntled persons to run down the administration to prevent this orderly and peaceful transfer which has already taken shape with the support of our Minister.
I see these persons as trying to use politics to prevent such an achievement which is being lauded by everybody in the regions and Tamale is no exception as we started scheming the place for the first time creating unprecedented orderly environment. The Lands Commission under me is not prepared to see Tamale lamps into slums especially when it concerns state lands. It is important to note that it is this lapsing Administration that for first time been able to establish all the boundaries of state lands in Tamale. Previous Administration could not trace the boundaries as acquired by the colonial Administration.
The supposed coalition cannot reclaim government land as they have no capacity to do so. Again we are very security conscious when it comes to Allocating state lands to people and we do not compromise on the security of our state installation as it is not secret that, there are some persons or bodies that should not near residence in Tamale.
I also wish to emphasize that anybody or organization which does not acquire state land through the lands Commission will never be granted any title because this is an illegality that and should not be condoned.
Lastly, but not the least, misinformation and sabotage coming from some disgruntled people within and without, such must stop.
I however, use this opportunity to thank the overlords of Dagbon, Gonja, Mamprugu and Nanum kingdoms and their elders for their unflinching support for the Lands Commission in their respective Regions. May God bless them. May God bless the President and our Home Land Ghana.

(NORTHERN REGIONAL CHAIRMAN)
LANDS COMMISSION
DUBIK MAHAMA YAKUBU

 

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