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Gov’t to relocate Kalakpa Reserve encroachers

Forest1Government has acquired two plots of land, five kilometers square each, for the resettlement of encroachers on the Kalakpa Resource Reserve.

Mr Alex Adjei, Park Manager of the Reserve , said on Monday that the land, located at Avedortoe in the North-Tongu District, would accommodate the about 2,500 encroachers with enough land area for farming.

He said this at a fundraising ceremony towards the construction of a temporary pre-school for the Fosime community, located in the Reserve.

The pre-school is to help give some academic background to children in the Reserve ahead of the relocation.

Mr Adjei said the successful resettlement of the people would boost the tourism potentials of the Reserve, established in 1975 by the Ghana government through the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission.

He said the resettlement process would not be compromised and from 2014, no farming activities would be allowed on the Kalakpa Hill.

“There is a perception that we love animals than human beings but that is not it. We are concerned about future generations because this is the last Guinea bush savanna in the country,” Mr Adjei said.

Mr Adjei described the area as a dry forest, grassland, riverine forest and savanna woodland.

It is said to have about 148 different kinds of birds, 227 kinds of butterflies, buffalos, kobs and duikers and attracts about 800 tourists a year.

Mr Joseph Nii Laryea Afotey Agbo, Volta Regional Minister who donated GHC2,000.00 and 50 bags of cement for the pre-school project, said the resettlement exercise had started with the pre-school project.

He called for cooperation from the encroachers for a successful relocation.

“We will not use caterpillar to move you, but you must be ready to move out anytime,” Mr Afotey Agbo said.

He called on non-governmental organizations and religious institutions to support the resettlement exercise.

Togbe Abutia Kodzo Gidi V, Paramount Chief of Abutia Traditional Area, urged the encroachers to be law abiding and go by the resettlement process.

Togbe Hotormaho Amedzake III, Chairman of Kalakpa Communities Resettlement Board, said the pre-school was necessary to prepare children in the Reserve academically ahead of the resettlement.

He said since the only school in the community was closed down in 1975, a good number of people dwelling in the Reserve did not go to school, hence the importance of the pre-school project.

In a comment following a Ghana News Agency article on the encroachment of Reserve, a Natural Resource expert said “it is a shame for such human encroachment to occur within earshot of the powers that be in the Ho Municipality.’’

“The forest was delineated for a specific purpose by the government and that decision should be respected and protected by the local government agent in that area.”

The Expert said “once the folks in the forest are resettled elsewhere, efforts would then be made to cordon off the area, if possible, affecting the arrest of people who trespass.”

“The law is the law and the forest reserve must be protected for the reason it was designated in 1975,” he said.

Opinions gathered by the Ghana News Agency on the establishment of the pre-school in the Fosime community in the Reserve showed that the initiative could send wrong signal about government’s commitment to evict the encroachers.

Source: GNA

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