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Let your ‘La land’ promises not be ‘false’, election winning trick – Youth to Akufo-Addo

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The youth of La have said President Nana Akufo-Addo must stick to the promises he made to the people of La regarding the return of their lands to them.

This follows recent recurrent clashes between the indigenes and the Ghana Armed Forces over the sprawling property – the last of which resulted in the assault of some locals and journalists by soldiers.  

At a press conference addressed by Mr Jeffrey Tetteh, spokesperson for the youth of La, the indigenes said: “Let it not be said that the government, led by His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, deceived the people of La by making false promises in order to make a political gain at the 2020 election, only to turn around and renege on those promises after achieving victory at the polls”. 

The youth also warmed the army that they will resist the annexation of their land with their lives. 

“We wish to reiterate that the people of La shall not relent on our efforts to gain control of lands fought for and gained through the toil and blood of our fathers”, warning: “If the military, with their arms and ammunition, insist on illegally annexing lands bequeathed to us by our forefathers, they might as well kill every indigene of La to make that dream come true”.

“But until they are able to do that, they can never and I repeat, they can never take the land from its true allodia owners”, Mr Tetteh said. 

He noted that the people of La were “long in occupation of the land even before the West African frontiers Force, the predecessor of the Ghana Armed Forces, was established”. 

The youth also appealed to the Speaker of Parliament to probe the military brutality meted out to some of the locals and some journalists about a week ago in connection With the land issue. 

“We wish to take this opportunity to call on the Speaker of Parliament to institute a bipartisan probe into the event of Thursday, 15 April 2021, in which the Ghana Armed Forces exhibited so much indiscipline and disregard for life and limb and engaged in conduct contrary to their military code and bring the perpetrators especially the ones who issued out orders for this acts, to book”.

Last week, the Ghana Armed Forces apologised to some journalists and youth of La, who were brutalised by some soldiers, on Thursday, 15 April 2021 during a demonstration over the stretch of land within the Burma Camp enclave.

“In order to restrain the demonstrators, reasonable force had to be applied to remove them”, a statement issued by the army said, adding: “Thus, in the process, some of the demonstrators or persons got injured”.

“It later came to light that some of the injured persons were journalists who were there to cover the event.”

“GAF seizes this opportunity to apologise to the journalists and all innocent persons who might have been affected by the troops’ effort to clear the unruly demonstrators,” the statement signed by Col E. Aggrey-Quashie said.

The army said it has instituted investigations into the matter.

“The Military High Command has directed that the case be investigated to ensure that such an unfortunate incident does not occur in future”.

“We, once again, call on all Ghanaians to follow due process in all their actions with GAF to avoid such unfortunate situations,” it added.

Background

The youth of La vowed, during the demonstration, to sacrifice their last drop of blood to repossess their lands from the military following the brutality they suffered at the hands of some soldiers as they went to inspect the 250-acre property at Gbletso near the Burma Camp.

Mr Tetteh, at the time, told journalists: “We have realised that against all warnings, the military is still developing the place”. 

“Now, like we’ve told you in previous meetings, on 27 November 2020, the government released those lands to the people of La. The military has vowed vehemently to resist the people of La and make sure we don’t get onto our land. 

“We are beginning to realise a trend that the government is using the security to intimidate the people of La to ensure that their cronies that the land. 

“They are suppressing us in an era of democracy and we, the people, will resist kind of suppression”, he said, adding: “We are going to resist with the last drop of blood in us if they so wish and they think they can spill blood because of this land, we are willing and so be it because our forefathers laid down their lives and shed their blood to regain this land for us”. 

“It is our time to also make sure that we also gain the land and bequeath it to those generations after us. We are not going to be intimidated by the use of security personnel. We are not going to be intimidated by the forces of the military. We are not afraid of their artillery and whatever they do, we shall still march onto the land today and possess it”, he noted.

Meanwhile, the MP for the area, Rita Odolley Sowah, condemned the military brutality and called on the authorities that be to resolve the impasse.

“The people of La went on the Gbletso land, that is the Burma Camp area to inspect their land and as they went there, the confrontation was between the people of La and the military, not the police. 

“The military deployed their officers there and there were gunshots and there is an exhibit of a live bullet that we have and then they beat the people very well, which I don’t think augurs well for the development of the country because if people have gone onto their land that the government has released to them.

“I don’t think there was a course for the military to attack them and these are civilians” and, so, “for them to even attack civilians on the field, I think they have to be called to order and then the situation has to be addressed because when you come to La, they beat men and women, they beat the media people who were there and it is not good for us and, so, I pray that the government will come in quickly; the ministers of land, defence and the regional minister will all come together to make sure that we sit with the traditional authorities and the people of La for an amicable solution to this problem. It has lingered on for far too long”.

On Tuesday, 16 March 2021, the indigenes of La invoked 99 deities to punish any individual who encroaches or puts up any structure on the yet-to-be-delineated 275-acre land at Tse-Addo in the La Dade Kotopon municipality.

A consensus was reached by a tripartite committee set up in December 2020 under the auspices of the Chief of Staff to retrieve 225 acres of the land for the traditional council while a buffer is created along the military cemetery enclave around the headquarters of the Ghana Armed Forces at Burma Camp with the remaining 50 acres.

This, the committee believed, would lay the protracted land dispute to rest.

However, even before the directives from Jubilee House were enforced, some truckloads of building materials were conveyed to the embargoed area with some unknown developers clearing the area for unknown reasons.

This situation forced the youth of La onto the streets in protest to the failure of the government to order the military to halt its encroachment pending final demarcation of the disputed area.

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