YILO KROBO: Impasse over is untrue
The Impasse between landlords of the Boti Water falls and the Yilo Krobo district assembly has not been amicably resolved , contrary to reports by the media recently that it has been settled.
The Yilo Krobo district assembly , led by Andrews Sodah, its Chief Executive, together with the Eastern regional police crime officer, have allegedly connived and condoned to terrorize the landlords in an attempt to prevent them from using their own lands.
According to the landlords-Dadematse Amponsah Tetteh , Tetteh Mensah , family head, Beatrice Ayikwei and Agnes Korkor, this warning was given to them on Monday , April 26, 2010 at Koforidua when they were invited by the Eastern Regional Police CID boss, District Coordinating Director and District Financial Officer to settle the impasse.
We dont understand why the district assembly wants to deny us access to our own property. We are not disputing the fact that the Boti Waterfalls, a natural resource, belongs to the statea and therefore the district assembly has the right to manage it, but it should also not forget that it has not acquired the land abutting the water falls which belongs to us" Dadematse Tetteh Amponsah angrily stated.
Fuming at a recent report in the Daily Graphic, which indicated that the Yilo Krobo impasse had been resolved, the landlords described the publication as bias since the reporter never contacted them to hear their side of the story.
He said the issue, which has been a subject of contention since 1992, has been arbitrated at various meetings convened by the Ministry of Tourism among others, but the district assembly would simply not let sleeping dogs lie.
He said proceeds from the water falls are supposed to be shared as following, District Assembly (20 per cent),traditional council (10 per cent) and landlords (60 per cent).
But instead of acting according to the dictates of the decisions reached at such meetings, it quickly makes a u-turn later to nullify everything and initiated fresh attacks," he added.
He cited a letter dated 4th February 2003,from the Ministry of Lands and Forestry and copied to the then Minister of Tourism and DCE of Yilo Krobo district assembly respectively , which was captioned, "Claims and Compensation" on the proposed Boti Water falls Forest Reserve, Consolidated with the proposed Boti Water falls Extension Forest Reserve and the unlawful acquisition of the present proposed Boti Water falls tourist site."
It notes inter alia that Information reaching this Ministry from the Lands Commission Secretariat indicated that the above site has not been acquired by government. To enable you go into joint partnership with the customary owners of the facility and its environs as a tourist site for investment, you are advised to submit a feasibility report for formal acquisition of same".
He revealed that it was signed by G.Tachie-Mensah, Technical Director of Lands.
Dadematse Tetteh Amponsah continued that the landlords were not claiming the falls as a natural resource,but they were interested in securing their lands abutting the falls.
He said the district assembly has started constructing entertainment centres without the consent of the landlords.
He added that this was purportedly inspired by the district assembly’s desire to make money from the resort without any respect for the landlords.
"The Boti Water falls being a natural resource , located in the course of a stream , are public properties and the public has a right to view the falls, swim or fish in the waters but no member of thepublic has a right to use the riparian land for the purpose of enjoying their rights in the falls.
Any use of the abutting land for extraneous purposes will constitute a trespass or an unlawful use.
"Even government has no right to authorise the public to utilise the abutting land beyong the scope of the rights conferred by law on the public, a fortiori, the Yilo Krobo district assembly, which is an arm of central government for purposes of local administration . It has no right to grant licenses to people to set up entertainment centres around the waterfalls or the abutting lands", he explained.
The land lords have therefore appealed to government to intervene.