Seek redress from government – UCC tells agitated host communities

The University of Cape Coast (UCC) has asked its aggrieved host communities by the school’s boundaries to seek redress at the courts and quit the incessant encroachment on the school’s lands.

The University said encroachers will be dealt with by law.

It said since the land was acquired by government and was only being managed by the school, it was better for the communities to engage government on their concerns and the related reliefs they sought.

Professor Johnson Nyarko Boampong, the Vice Chancellor of the school, lamenting the impact of the encroachments on its operations, called for the support of the entire country to halt the scourge.

He said UCC was a great asset for Africa and the world and should be given the chance to develop to accommodate the increasing population of students.

Members of the University’s Council commenced a three-day meeting on Wednesday to address the wanton encroachments on the school’s lands and seek finality to the longstanding dispute with its host communities.

As part of the meeting, the Council members embarked on a tour of the school’s boundaries at Kwaprow, Akotokyir, Kakumdo, Kwesipra.and Ankaful to assess the extent of encroachment and inspect some of its ongoing projects.

The projects inspected include a three-storey office complex for the Institutional Affiliation Office and Schools for Educational Development and Outreach at Akotokyir, and the African Centre of Excellence for Coastal Resilience (ACECoR) multipurpose building.

In 2019, UCC found that 24.4 per cent of its 3,690.24-acre land had been illegally occupied.

The five-hour tour revealed further encroachments happening at a top speed with some of the pillars demarcating the boundaries uprooted and destroyed.

The Vice Chancellor, briefing the media after the tour, observed that places that had been earmarked for future construction of a teaching hospital and other projects were being encroached upon.

He indicated that the Council would take a decision on the encroachers after the meeting and assured of full implementation by management to stop the nefarious activity.

Professor Boampong, said the Council had championed the fight against encroachments on the University’s lands since assuming office in 2020 and had engaged the communities and chiefs on many occasions.

“Some people are benefitting from the encroachments because they sell the lands and since they are gaining financially from the system, they will not be happy with you, trying to stop it”.

“That is why they are calling for our heads and the heads of management,” he noted.

With a total workforce of more than 5,000 and about 65,000 students, Professor Boampong intimated that the economy of Cape Coast depended on UCC.

“It means the school is playing a great role in the development of Ghana and particularly because most of the courses we offer are professional which has produced great men and women across the world,” he said.

Mr Amankwaa Twumasi, Head of Anti-Land Encroachment Unit, UCC, admitted that some of the staff of the school were complicit in the encroachment but it was difficult to identify the owners of their property.

“You can gather information on the property to take legal action but getting to know the owners is quite difficult. We have identified a few of them and some of them have been taken to the disciplinary committee and others have been taken to court,” he said.

He said the unit would not renege on its responsibility to protect the school’s lands through every means legally acceptable.

Source: GNA

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