Court injunction stops Forestry Commission demolition exercise

Forestry Commission’s resolve to pull down illegal structures on the Sakumono Ramsar Site at the weekend was stalled after some persons living in the area obtained a court injunction to stop the process.

The injunction, taken late Friday July 13, was served on the Forestry Commission officials when they arrived at Klagon, with the police and military personnel, on Saturday morning to begin the demolition exercise.

A similar exercise around the Celebrity Golf Course was also stopped in line with the court order.

Mr Carlos Ahenkorah, the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry and the Member of Parliament for Tema West Constituency, who was present at the site, deplored the high level of encroachment on the Sakumono Ramsar Site.

He said while it was necessary to save the Ramsar site from encroachers in line with the intended purpose for which the government signed the international treaty of the Ramsar Convention, the Forestry Commission failed to follow due process in carrying out the exercise.

He said it was inappropriate for the officials of the Forestry Commission to undertake the exercise without any information to the Member of Parliament and local authorities. 

Mr Ahenkorah urged persons selling and buying land around the Ramsar site to desist from the practice and allow the site to serve its natural course.   

“We are very worried about the massive encroachment with impunity and its attendant effects on the Sakumono Ramsar Site,” he said, adding that efforts should be made to target those people selling the land to solve the problem permanently.

Reverend David Kpelle, the Technical Director Forestry Commission, said most of the targeted structures had gone beyond the line of demarcation agreed on during the Minister’s visit in March. 

“We are trying to let people know that this place is subject to flooding. You come and build here you’re risking your life,” he said, adding that the exercise was to remove fence walls and buildings next to the lagoon.  

Source: GNA

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