New Akrade and Senchi residents who have been affected by the Tema-Mpakadan Railway Project have staged a protest in demand of their 25-acre-land compensation.
The affected residents, numbering over 100, are angry that the undue delay of the land compensation is hindering their relocation coupled with the associated impact on water and community roads.
They have given the Railways Development Ministry a 21-day ultimatum to respond to their demand.
On Tuesday, September 20, residents led by the Akrade Queenmother, Nana Samanko III, protested, holding placards that conveyed their displeasure.
Some of the placards read: ‘Pay Us now’, ‘Railways Ministry Pay Us’, ‘Ye ne Abre’ and ‘We need our Land Compensation’.
Queenmother Nana Samanko III was worried about the silence of the Railway Development Ministry on the land compensation.
“My people need to be paid their land compensation, its been too long. The roads in my community have worsened, we can hardly get access to potable water to drink too.”
The affected residents said the delay of the land compensation has affected their relocation plans and livelihood.
“The land compensation money has unduly delayed, only the structures have been paid for. We need the full money to enable us continue our livelihood and our project where we have relocated. Cost of materials keeps increasing, how do we survive? We will be forced to stop the work and picket at the Railways Ministry if they fail to respond to our demand in 21 days.“
Another added: “The houses close to the project are in danger, beneath is cracks developing from the project. We fear they may cave in soon because we see cracks in rocks down there.”
Convenor for the affected residents Seth Osae Afari handed a four-paged petition to the Asuogyaman District Chief Executive, Samuel Kwame Agyekum.
He explained engagements between them, the Lands Evaluation Division of the Lands Commission, and the Railway Development Ministry for the past four years has not yielded results.
“Since our lands were acquired by EI 23 of 2019 for the construction of the Tema-Mpakadan railway line project, we had no option but to clear our land for this important national project. A year later in August and September 2020, our crops and buildings were valued and paid with the exception of two structures and two crop farms whose owners rejected the valuations. Our lands remained unpaid for a very long time despite several demands from the Lands Valuation Division of the Lands Commission.”
He added: “We are by this petition expressing our utmost dissatisfaction of the government’s unacceptable delay in paying us our land compensation contrary to the requirements of law for prompt payment of compensation for Lands acquired from citizens for public use. We also see the continuous delay in paying us a deliberate and calculated attempt to deny us of our constitutional rights. We strongly feel that our demand for prompt payment of fair and adequate compensation for individual lands compulsorily acquired by the state is a human rights guaranteed under Article 20 of the 1992 Constitution and therefore the continuous delay in paying the compensation is a consistent infringement on our human rights.”
The Asuogyaman DCE, Samuel Kwame Agyekum, asked the affected to exercise restraint as he forwards their demands to the Railway Development Ministry for immediate action.
“I am happy you mentioned it is an important national project. It will benefit us and everyone along the project. I know your land compensation has delayed [but] I urge you to exercise restraint and be patient the money will come.”
By Yvonne Neequaye|3news.com|Ghana