The Chief of Kanville, a suburb of Tamale in the Northern region Kanville-Bihi-Na Dauda Alhassan has demanded management of the School of Hygiene to shift the proposed construction of a school fence wall forward to put the traditional shrine which is currently within the school boundaries behind the school.
The School of Hygiene was established in 1952 to train environmental health officers in Ghana’s quest to maintain a clean environment.
It currently runs a diploma in Environment Health and has an enrollment of three hundred students made of males and females with at least eighty percent of its students hailing from the five regions of the north.
The school sits on a land mass of 36.61 acres of land acquired by the Ministry of Health in the 1950s and falls within the Kanville and Zagyuri traditional areas, a location that has become the bone of contention since 2015.
In a letter written by Kanville-Bihi-Na Dauda’s solicitor Mohammed Alhassan ESQ, dated July 24 2015, to the former Principal Alfred B Asibi, though acknowledged the legal acquisition of the land from the Kanville traditional skin by the school, stated the area of the shrine could not be ceded to the school.
“The traditional shrine (tingbani) is within the area you earmarked as your school boundaries and is thereby making sacrifices to the shrine “god” difficult. The shrine is located 200 metres from the school toilet to the main Nanton road”.
The letter also demanded the school produced its site plan and documents of acquisition to the palace. The current Principal Bello Seiwu upon assumption of office was summoned to the palace where a copy of the letter which has the demands clearly outlined was made available to him.
“I have the instructions of my client to demand of you to shift your sign boards/walls forward to put the fetish behind the sign boards/walls. From the fetish location to the main Nanton road should not be part of the school land”, as stated and signed by Mohammed Alhassan, ESQ and copied to Dauda Alhassan, Kanville Bihi Skin.
“The land must be released to the chief for his use”, the letter further directed.
At the meeting, the elders cited open defecation close to the shrine by students as another reason for the demand, an allegation management has refuted.
“The shrine is close to our well-functioning toilets and I wonder how students will leave the toilets and practice open defecation”, Mr. Bello Seiwu lamented.
After several meetings, a decision was reached by management of the school to protect the shrine.
“When management proposed to fence around the shrine to protect it, the elders rejected that proposal and impressed on their 200 metres demand”.
Speaking with www.zamireports.com, Mr. Bello Seiwu revealed the demand for the plots intensified in the last three months and has witnessed a weekly visit by at least three elders from the Kanville palace and a messenger from the palace of the Gukpegu-Na, the paramount Chief of Tamale.
“The recent visit was Wednesday July 7, where some four elders arrived at the school demanding that my vice principal showed them the portion of land the school was ready to cede to the traditional council”.
The Vice Principal Danatus Yieri revealed encroachment of the school land commenced with a request by the chief to school management to allocate a portion of the school land to his sons for his business was heeded.
“He requested that we gave his son a portion to erect a shed for his mechanical work which we felt was not a big demand so we allowed it but now some other people have also erected sheds and put up containers to sell”.
Management of the school during the recent visit by elders from the palace discovered the erection of a pillar on the school football field by an unknown person.
“We were not aware of the existence of the pillar until we were taking them to the shrine to show them how we intend to protect it during their last visit and right when we arrived at the spot where the pillar has been erected, they said that was where the land they are demanding for starts”.
Management hinted a decision was communicated to the palace on Friday July 9.
“We told them we’re only caretakers and have no power to cede any part of it to anybody, the land was acquired by government through the Ministry of Health and so they can institute proceedings at the ministry”.
Meanwhile, the Zagyuri traditional council has served notice to management of the school on any attempt to cede the plots of land to the Kanville Chief.
“They served notice that if we cede any part to the Kanville Chief, they will also demand for land since the school falls within the two traditional jurisdictions”.
School management is worried the new precedent will retard development including the construction of teachers bungalows.
Mr Bello Seiwu hinted plans are advanced to start the construction of a fence wall.
“The Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources sent engineers of the PWHD to access the school for expansion work and construction of a fence wall”.
They want stakeholders including the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources to step in to prevent the Chief from encroaching the school land.
www.zamireports.com gathered that a brother of the chief has already taken possession of portions of the same area being demanded for his annual farming.