- The pre-acquisition owners of the Achimota forest lands, the Owoo Family, have reacted to claims that they have been given land in 2016
- In a statement, the family said they have not received any land as some media reports have claimed
- The family said they are unhappy about some of the comments since a leaked report revealed that portions of the Achimota Forest Reserve have been declassified
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The Owoo Family of Osu, the original owners of the vast land that was purchased by the colonial government for the Achimota Forest Reserve, has denied receiving land in 2016.
Breaking their silence in a statement, the family said they are unhappy about the direction of the public discourse on the alleged declassification of the Achimota Forest Reserve by an Executive Instrument (EI).
According to a report by Joy News, the principal elders of the family have issued a statement on Thursday, May 19, 2022, to lament that a grave historical injustice has been done to them.
“The much talked about August 19, 2016 ceremony which has been erroneously stated in the public as an occasion when the land was released to the Owoo family is false and misleading.
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“That ceremony was a sod-cutting ceremony for the development of the Achimota Forest into an Eco-Tourism park. The Owoo family were mere invitees/guests,” portions of the statement said, according to the Joy News report.
The family explained further that the acreage due them was arrived at through a long-standing negotiation that predates the current administration. The government plans to hand over 136 acres of the land back to family after persistent petitions.
“This was done with the active involvement of various State technical negotiators and agencies. The Owoo family has petitioned all governments in the fourth republican dispensation and indeed is yet to take possession of any parcel of land to date,” the family said.
The family explained that it has decided to speak on the matter because of the misrepresentations in the media.
The reaction by the family follows a leaked document that revealed that an Executive Instrument has since May 1, 2022, removed the reserve status on portions of the Achimota Forest Reserve.
The document was first interpreted as an attempt by the current government to sell portions of the reserve for commercial development. However, Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Abu Jinapor, swiftly held press engagements to deny the claim.
The government explained that portions of the reserve had been returned to the Owoo Family after persistent petitions and that the removal of the reserve status was to enable the family to develop it.
Achimota Forest: Government And Expert Explain Why Claim Reserve Has Been Sold Is False
Meanwhile, YEN.com.gh has reported in a related story that following an uproar on social media that the Nana Akufo-Addo administration intends to sell portions of the Achimota Forest Reserve, an expert and the government have moved in with the bare facts.
Reports on various media platforms on Tuesday, May 17, 2022, claimed that the president has issued an Executive Instrument (EI 144) to declassify the Achimota Forest and is in the process of selling the property.
According to the reports, fueled by a leaked document, Akufo-Addo under Executive Instrument 144 has lifted the 1927 classification of the Achimota Forest in the Greater Accra Region as a Forest Reserve, paving way for its redesignation, reclassification, sale, and development by other interests.