Documents sighted by The Independent Ghana indicate that the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources has requested a master plan for the development of land abutting Achimota Forest from Okaikwei North Municipal Chief Executive.
The letter to the MCE dated October 2023 was shared by Vice President of Imani Africa, Bright Simons.
In the said letter, the Ministry noted that by the Forests (Cessation of Forest Reserve) Instrument 2022 (E. I. 144), as amended by the Forests (Cessation of Forest Reserves) (Amendment) Instrument, 2023 (E. I. 234), portions of the Achimota Forest, measuring approximately 260.06 acres or 105.25 hectares, ceased to be a forest reserve.
“In preparing the master plan, the District LUSPA shall take into consideration the protection of the ecological integrity of the Forest Reserve which abuts the land,” parts of the letter read.
In May 2022, the Achimota Forest brouhaha emerged, which involved the declassification of the said land.
Lands Minister, Samuel Abdulai Jinapor, in Executive Instrument (E.I) 144 on behalf of the President stipulated that effective May 1, 2022, the land on which the Forest is located shall cease to be a forest reserve.
He noted that portions of the land will be returned to the Owoo family and government will redevelop the remaining into the likes of High Park of London and Central Park of New York, where Ghanaians can go and enjoy the beauty of nature.
Samuel Abu Jinapor requested that the Forestry and Land Commissions, as well as the Owoo Family, furnish the ministry with information on all transactions surrounding the Achimota Forest.
The Minister sought to find out what exactly had happened since 1927 when about 1,185 acres of land were acquired by the State and later constituted as a Forest Reserve in 1930 under the name Achimota Firewood Plantation Forest Reserve.
The CEO of the Forestry Commission, Mr. John Allotey, was expected to submit all leases granted by the Forestry Commission over the land, any amendment or variations to those leases, as well as any sublease or assignment granted over any part of the land.
Also, in a separate letter, James Ebenezer Dadson, the Executive Secretary of the Lands Commission, was asked to provide the ministry with information on de-gazetting, leases, subleases, assignments, and other transfer or disposition of any part of the lands in question, whether made by the Forestry Commission or any other person.
The Nii Owoo family, said to be allodial owners of the land, were expected to submit to his office all subleases and assignments granted by the Family to any person.
They were also to provide the names and addresses of all beneficiary owners of any part of the land acquired in 1927, per the statement. These pieces of information was to bring finality to the matter.
According to Mr Simons, after a year government began probing the matter, no resolution has been announced, but rather government’s is interested in giving out portions of the land to private developmers.
“So, more than a year after the govt promised a comprehensive inquiry into Achimota Forest land affairs, it would seem that it has decided that the time is now ripe to release a large swath of the forest to developers for more condos & shopping malls in Accra. Who forest epp,” he wrote in a tweet.