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Saturday, February 4, 2023

“A city without forest reserves isn’t worth the name city”: Lands Minister as he charges Agencies to kick out encroachers

Ghana’s Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Lawyer Samuel A. Jinapor has charged staff of Agencies under the Lands and Natural Resources Ministry in the Northern region to forcefully deal with encroachers of forest reserves and public lands within the Tamale Metropolis insisting the phenomenon cannot be permitted to continue.

The agencies were meeting the sector Minister in Tamale as part of his one-day working tour to the region on Monday 4th October 2021. They consisted of staff from the Forestry Commission, Lands Commission, Minerals Commission, and Office of the Administration of Stool Lands.

“The issue of encroachment of forests reserves is a matter we have to deal with forcefully. The Forestry Commission and the Regional Coordination Council to make sure that they come to grips with this matter immediately. We’re told and it’s very evident that the forest reserves in Tamale are being encroached on and we cannot permit that.”

The Minister further stated that the Regional Security Council (REGSEC) will soon map out strategies to clear all the encroachers along the forest reserves to ensure the sustainability of Tamale thus it’s crucial for all the Agencies to build a synergy to tackle the menace head-on.

“A city without a forest reserve is not a city that is sustainable and not worth the name city and these forest reserves have been here for years and suddenly we have washing bays, people wanting to construct residential houses there, and blues kiosks – that trend cannot be allowed to continue,” he bemoaned.

The minister wants the agencies to rid the city of these “unpleasant occurrences,” reiterating how fast Tamale is becoming the hub of commerce in the northern zone of Ghana through to neighbouring Burkina Faso, Togo, and Mali in the Sahel region.

This was corroborated by the Northern Regional Minister, Mr. Shani Alhassan Shaibu who hinted that the encroachers have been directed to keep off the reserves.

Read Also: https://zamireports.com/the-era-of-exporting-raw-mineral-resources-is-over-lands-minister-declares-as-he-engages-emmaland-resources-limited/

The Tamale Metropolis is home to some three forest reserves namely: Aboabo forest which runs through the Aboabo and Nyohini suburbs, the Gumani forest reserve in the Gumani suburb which also runs through the Northern School of Business, and the Gumbihini forest that host the Parks and Gardens plantation site.




Kioks erected at the Gumani forest reserve. Photo by Godgive Boumekpo-ZAMIREPORTS.

Fact Check.

ZAMIREPORTS visited these forest reserves to ascertain if the claims of encroachment were factual or just a figment of the imagination of the Minister and can confirm that indeed, the reserves are being encroached with stores scattered at most edges of the reserves. At the Gumani forest reserve, we found that restaurants and washing bay operators ply their businesses at the edges of the reserve. They include Kwajus washing bay among others.

Kwajus washing bay and bar is among the many structures dotted around the Gumani forest reserve. Photo by Godgive Boumekpo| ZAMIREPORTS.

From the Abedi Pele roundabout to the Aliu Mahama Sports Stadium side of the Aboabo forest is an array of stores and food joints. They range from cosmetic shops to food and beverages and grillers.

A welding shop at the Gumbihini forest reserve behind the office of GRIDCO. Photo by Godgive Boumekpo – ZAMIREPORTS.

From the Fatih Senior High School junction behind the stadium to the office of the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCO) are welding, mechanical, and barbering shops.

From the Abedi Pele roundabout between Zogbeli and Nyohoni to the Aliu Mahama Sports Stadium side of the Aboabo forest is an array of stores and food joints. They range from cosmetic shops to food and beverages and grillers. Photo by Godgive Boumekpo- ZAMIREPORTS. 

Inside all three reserves are “brothels” made with plastic and canopies.

“They boys bring girls here to have sex with them and also the trade-in guns. You’d hear gunshots if you’re staying till evening,” a resident who led us into the forest and wants to stay anonymous hinted.

A car parked in fron of one of the “brothels” in the heart of the Gumbihini forest reserve. Photo by Godgive Boumekpo -ZAMIREPORTS.

We gather that the city’s immediate past Chief Executive of Tamale Iddrisu Musah in his tenure through the Regional Security Council consistently stormed the reserves to chase out squatters who according to him had turned the reserves into havens for vices including “stealing and smoking.”

By: Zubaida Mabuno Ismail| www.zamireports.com| Ghana.













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