Ghana

Land grab at Pokuase, Amasaman: 400-acre CSIR lands under threat • Govt, individuals accused of encroachment • Given 3-week ultimatum to vacate

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has issued a three-week ultimatum to government and individuals who have encroached its 400-acre Pokuase–Amasaman lands to vacate the premises imme­diately.

Failure to comply with this ulti­matum, it said, would result in the CSIR taking legal action to reclaim its land, including the possibility of staging a peaceful demonstration to draw attention to the issue.

Mr Amoo-Gyasi (left), addressing the Media with Dr Amponmah Benefo,former Nationa President of the Research Staff Association of the CSIR
Mr Amoo-Gyasi (left), addressing the Media with Dr Amponmah Benefo,former Nationa President of the Research Staff Association of the CSIR

“We are committed to protecting our land and will take all necessary measures to address land encroach­ment effectively,” the CSIR Union Chairman, Mr Michael Amoo-Gya­si, said at a news conference in Accra yesterday.

He said the Council feared collapse due to the extent of encroachment which threatened research and technological develop­ment activities as well as endanger­ing the lives of the staff.

“Sometime in 2019, we got a hint, which was later confirmed by our management, that government was seeking to allocate portions of the CSIR land at Pokuase/ Amasaman for the construction of affordable housing units.

Realising that the proposed proj­ect was going to significantly affect the work of CSIR, management took immediate steps to halt the process until CSIR Management was fully engaged with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Ministry of Works and Housing, which was responsible for develop­ment of the projects,” he stated.

This action by the CSIR, he said, triggered the intervention of the Vice President of Ghana, Dr Ma­hamudu Bawumia, who constituted an inter-Ministerial Committee to resolve the impasse.

The Inter-Ministerial Committee, Mr Amoo-Gyasi said, concluded that the CSIR be apportioned 184 acres of the land and that areas occupied by the CSIR be consol­idated into one general area and be issued a lease by the Lands Commission.

“The said lease was never issued by the Lands Commission but later we heard the 184 acres had been re­duced to 100 acres which was con­firmed by a sod-cutting ceremony by the President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo.

In a desperate attempt to protect the development of Science and Technology, the Governing Council and Management of CSIR has for the past months put in efforts to obtain the lease for the 100 acres,” he said.

Continuing, Mr Amoo-Gyasi said to their shock and dismay, a private developer was seen clearing the entire 400 plus acres of the land, disregarding the terms of initial agreement and in the process destroyed ongoing scientific ex­periments, valuable CSIR research materials which had taken decades to develop on experimental field plots by individuals and private developers all these with impunity.

These activities, he said, posed a significant threat to the vital research and development activities carried out by the institution.

Mr Amoo-Gyasi said CSIR played a crucial role in advancing scientific knowledge, fostering innovation, and driving economic growth in Ghana.

Station Manager for CSIR-Crop Research Institute, Pokuase Station, Mr James Konadu Boafo, on his part, said all efforts to halt encroachment proved futile, hence the three-week ultimatum.

“In conclusion, we appeal to all well-meaning Ghanaians to stand with us in solidarity as we strive to protect our institution’s heritage and safeguard its future. We will not waiver in our resolve to defend the future of our dear nation and ensure that the right thing is done.”

 BY TIMES REPORTER

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