Odike Chases Squatters In Kumasi

The market section of the land
Hundreds of homes and livelihoods in the Ashanti Regional capital of Kumasi are set to be destroyed in another demolition exercise.

The Lands Commission seeks to recover a state land that has been sold to the presidential candidate of the United Progressive Party (UPP), Akwasi Addai Odike.

The land, about six acres and located around the Santasi roundabout, is housing small and medium size businesses, shops, a mini market and is also serving as a place of abode for some northern settlers and a terminal for tipper truck drivers.

Occupiers, numbering about 2,000, have been given notice to immediately vacate the site ahead of an application to redevelop the area.

The private developer, Akwasi Addai, who claims to be the leaseholder of the site, is on the neck of the Lands Commission to execute a court order to get rid of the occupants who were served notice last Thursday.

He told DAILY GUIDE in an interview that he needed the land to begin his Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) testing project which has been scheduled to commence in December this year.

The UPP leader said he had secured building permit and other necessary documentations for the commencement of the project under a public-private partnership agreement.

“It is not only the DVLA testing project that will be sited on the land, but also an office accommodation for the Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC),” Odike revealed.

However, occupants of the land are worried about the sudden attempt to eject them from the public property, asserting that the Lands Commission had not given them ample time to vacate the place, saying the move would affect their livelihoods and economic opportunities.

Mr Owusu Kwarteng, spokesman for the squatters, said inasmuch as they acknowledge they have no title to the land, government ought to carry out the exercise with a human face.

“We need ample time to quit the site. Some of us have been here for the past 25 years and built our livelihoods on this land. Relocation cannot be done overnight. That is why we are appealing for some time to get prepared,” he explained.

Last year, a Kumasi high court presided over by Justice Paul Richardson granted an order for removal of trespassers from all state lands in the regional capital in an ex-parte motion.

The squatters told DAILY GUIDE they were not made aware of the order of the court until last Thursday when the Commission served them with the eviction notice.

Officers of the Lands Commission were tight-lipped on the issue when DAILY GUIDE visited their offices on Monday, insisting that the right person to speak to the matter, the Regional Director, was out of town.

From Ernest Kofi Adu, Kumasi

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