Customary Land Secretariat inaugurated
The Ngleshie Alata Traditional Council’s Customary Land Secretariat (CLS) was inaugurated at James Town on Wednesday to improve land management and administration in the area.
It would also help put in place necessary structures at the local level to improve land records, reduce conflicts and litigation, and also cut down on the incidence of double sale of land and land guards.
Alhaji Inusah Fuseini, Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, in a speech read for him, said the secretariat would provide a congenial and peaceful environment for accelerated development.
He said the inauguration was a major milestone in the collective efforts at reforming land administration in Ghana to create wealth while reducing poverty for the greater majority of the people.
The noted that that Phase one of the Land Administration Project (LAP) made provision for the establishment of 37 Customary Land Secretariats, as well as helping to build the capacity of Traditional Authorities in land management.
“I am told that before LAP-1, it was only the Manhyia Palace in Kumasi, which had established a CLS some decades ago, with Gbawe Kwatei in Accra and the Okyenhene in Akim following suit,” he said, and congratulated the Chiefs and people of Ngleshie Alata for the bold step in establishing the Secretariat.
Alhaji Fuseini appealed to the Chiefs and elders of the Council to exhibit total commitment towards the activities of the Secretariat, support the office to function effectively and monitor its progress at all times.
Dr Isaac Bonsu Karikari, National Project Coordinator for the Second Ghana Land Administration Project, in a speech read for him, said Customary Land Secretariats fell in line with one of the core objectives of LAP-2, which was to decentralize land administration in the country.
He said the situation before the advent of LAP, where all land transactions, particularly the registration of titles could only be done in two places in Ghana – Accra and Kumasi did not augur well for development.
Dr Karikari said to address the challenges of poor land governance, the government under the auspices of the Ministry established the LAP with funding from the World Bank and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) to help streamline and ensure sanity in land administration.
“Indeed it is our conviction that when Chiefs, who have custody of over 75 per cent of land in the country buy into the development objectives of the project and establish these Customary Land Secretariats, then more than half of our struggle to ensure a transparent and effective land management system would have been a success,” he said.
That, he said, would bring land services closer to the people where everybody including the Chiefs, Queen Mothers, Traditional Authorities and women would play pivotal roles.
Oblempong Nii Kojo Ababio V, Paramount Chief and President of the Ngleshie Alata Traditional Area, said over the years land management in the traditional area had not been very formal and expressed the hope that with the secretariat things would come to normalcy.
He said: “with this secretariat, my traditional area will adopt the systems and mechanisms of adaptive management regime, which comes with a variety of flavours often described as evolutionary, passive and active with the elements of relying on the prior actions to inform future developments”.
He therefore pledged his commitment to ensure smooth running of its administration and to further broach the way for Customary Boundary Demarcation between divisional communities of the traditional area and other conflicting boundaries between the traditional area and other traditional areas within the Central and Eastern Regions.
“I hold the strongest believe that an application for consideration of a Customary Boundary Demarcation shall receive the needed co-operation from your outfit to enable a total success of implementation of this project here in James Town.
“I personally wish to see greater success and transformation in land management practice in this traditional area as it will form part of any legacy that I would bequeath to the next generation of leaders within my chieftaincy,” he added.
Oblempong Ababio V expressed the hope to engender transparency and accountability into land management systems in the Ngleshie Alata traditional area, a principle that would enhance the drive for sustainable development to manifest.