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Tamale Timber Market lands have not been sold to any private developer; says Regional Lands Commission

The Lands Commission in the Northern Region, has rebuffed claims made by the minority leader in parliament Haruna Iddrisu that the commission had sold the land on which the Timber Market in Tamale is situated.

The commission at press briefing in Tamale, described the Tamale South law-maker’s statement as unfortunate and very misleading

It would be recalled that on May 1, 2021, the minority leader called on the government to reverse the sale of the timber market in the Tamale metropolis. He also allegedly said that the land was the property of the Forestry Commission which has been offered for sale to private developers whiles operatives of the market have been given notice to vacate the place.

The MP, stated this during interactions with some of his constituents.

However the Northern Regional Chairman of the Lands Commission, Dubik Mahama Yakubu, addressing a section of the media over the issue, stated that the commission has not sold out the market to any individual, nor has notices been served to the occupants to vacate the land.

Dubik Mahama also denied the assertion by the MP that the Tamale Timber Market land is a property of the Forestry Commission, saying it is not accurate as the record held by the Lands Commission does not reflect that assertion.

He explained that the only plot that was leased to the private developer is a commercial plot by the road side between the Aboabo Market Ghana Commercial Bank branch and the Shell Filling Station, part of which was used by the old Ghana National Trading Corporation (GNTC).

 “Tamale Timber Market is a state land which is covered by a planning scheme, the occupants have been doing business there for several years without paying anything to the state. It is inconceivable, however, for anybody to attempt to move these people from there and give the place to another person,” he said.  

Touching on the issue of alleged indiscriminate disposition of state lands in Tamale, the chairman of the Northern Regional Lands Commission indicated that the commission does not sell state lands, rather it is leased to developers for the benefit of society.

He however warned that the commission will not grant titles to persons that fail to acquire state lands through the Lands Commission.

Read Full Statement below:

PRESS RELEASE                                                                                        MAY 6, 2021

A REJOINER TO THE STATEMENT BY THE MINORITY LEADER AND MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT FOR TAMALE SOUTH CONSTITUENCY ON THE PURPORTD SALE OF TIMBER MARKET LAND IN TAMALE BY THE LANDS COMMISSION

The attention of the Northern Regional Lands Commission has been drawn to a statement by the Minority Leader and Member of Parliament for Tamale South Constituency Hon. Haruna Iddrisu in which he has made a demand on the government to reverse the sale of the timber market in Tamale. He alleged that the said land was the property of the Forestry Commission which has been offered for sale to private developers while operatives of the timber market have been given notices to vacate the place.

He made this call while interacting with some of his constituents in the area on Saturday 1st May, 2021. The statement of the Hon. Member of Parliament was broadcast in the Joy News Bulletin on the same day and also published on online new portal www.myjoyonline.com on 1st May, 2021 at 7:31pm.

The Lands Commission finds this statement by the Honorable Member of Parliament rather unfortunate and very misleading. The Commission wishes to inform the general Public and, particularly people doing business in the market that the timber market has not been sold to anybody. It was also not true that those occupying the place and doing business in timber market have been served with notices to vacate the place. No notice was served on anyone and the Hon. Member of Parliament can attest to the fact as to whether those he met that day showed him copies of notices that were served on them.

Furthermore, his assertion that the timber market is a property of Forestry Commission is not accurate as the record held at the Lands Commission does not reflect that assertion.

The point must be made that the timber market is a State Land which covered by planning scheme or a layout. People who do business there have been on this land for several years without paying anything to the state.

It is inconceivable however for anybody to attempt to move these people from there and give the place to another person. What can be done, to them to regularize their stay there by requesting them to apply for leases to cover their holdings? Among other things, this would provide security of tenure to them. The idea was mooted last year but preliminary discussion with their leaders did not go far. That was where it ended and no one has given the place to anybody.

The plot that was leased to the developer is a commercial plot by the road side between the Commercial Bank and the Shell Filling Station part of which was used by GNTC of old. There is, in fact, a road separating this site from the timber market. It is to be used for a Commercial purpose just as the old GNTC was commercial entity. This is all that there is to the issue and nobody has sold out the market or asked anybody to vacate the place.

On the alleged indiscriminate disposition of Public lands in Tamale. I wish to submit that the Lands Commission as a Constitutional body exists, among other things, to manage Public Lands. This did not begin with this current government and will not end with it. Indeed in the inaugural address of the President to members of the National Lands Commission on the day of their inauguration on Thursday 24th August 2017, he reminded members about what they told the good people of Ghana in the NPP’s 2016 Manifesto for which the Party was voted into power. Among other things, the Commission was charged to ‘Release Publicly held lands for productive use as freeing up surplus and underutilized lands held by public departments for housing and Commercial developments will boost economic development and reduce the housing deficit”. This, among other things, was a charge the President gave the Commission and hoped and expected that the later he will ensure the full and speedy implementation of this initiatives.

Everything done under our tenure was thus consistent with execution of that charge given by the President to ensure that his vision for the good people of Ghana was actualized. We were also guided by the rules and regulation that govern the Commission by ensuring that were appropriately designed and executed.

As Chairman of the Commission in the Region, I have personally spoken to the MP and explained the issues to him. It is hoped that he will in future verify the veracity of any information given him before going into the public domain.

I was appointed by his Excellency President Akufo Addo to supervise the Land Administration in the three (3) Regions in accordance with the law. There is also the question of a group calling itself Coalition of Citizens of Tamale against the sale of government lands which is undermining the peace and stability of Tamale.

The Commission is glad to hear that they are concerned about government land. Lands Commission is the only body which manages state lands in the country, therefore, for someone to say it can direct the Commission as to how the state lands are managed is a misconception which defies description.

It is important to note that the Lands Commission does not sell state lands but leases them to developers for the benefit of society. Those who are peddling this falsehood are doing so to enhance their political objectives and promote insecurity for their personal aggrandizement. The Land Commission follows due process in allocating lands in the three Northern Regions which are under control as Chairman namely, Northern Region, North-East and Savannah so as a professional lawyer I do not intend superintend over mismanagement lands in these regions. For the past four years, we have managed the lands in the regions creditably and the three kings and their elders can attest to this.

Lands Commission under my administration has been instructed to decentralized and set up the lands Administration in this part of the country. We are busily liaising up with Chiefs, opinion leaders and all stakeholders to ensure peaceful and orderly transfer of files to Damongo and Nalerigu in furtherance of the creation of the respective Lands Commission Administration therein.

It is therefore unfortunate for some few disgruntled persons to run down the administration to prevent this orderly and peaceful transfer which has already taken shape with the support of our Minister.

I see these persons as trying to use politics to prevent such an achievement which is being lauded by everybody in the regions and Tamale is no exception as we started scheming the place for the first time creating unprecedented orderly environment. The Lands Commission under me is not prepared to see Tamale lamps into slums especially when it concerns state lands. It is important to note that it is this lapsing Administration that for first time been able to establish all the boundaries of state lands in Tamale. Previous Administration could not trace the boundaries as acquired by the colonial Administration.

The supposed coalition cannot reclaim government land as they have no capacity to do so. Again we are very security conscious when it comes to Allocating state lands to people and we do not compromise on the security of our state installation as it is not secret that, there are some persons or bodies that should not near residence in Tamale.

I also wish to emphasize that anybody or organization which does not acquire state land through the lands Commission will never be granted any title because this is an illegality that and should not be condoned.

Lastly, but not the least, misinformation and sabotage coming  from some disgruntled people within and without, such must stop.

I however, use this opportunity to thank the overlords of Dagbon, Gonja, Mamprugu and Nanum kingdoms and their elders for their unflinching support for the Lands Commission in their respective Regions. May God bless them. May God bless the President and our Home Land Ghana.

(NORTHERN REGIONAL CHAIRMAN)

LANDS COMMISSION

DUBIK MAHAMA YAKUBU

Story by: Alhassan Yakubu 

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