GOV’T MAY ACQUIRE 100-YEAR DISPUTED LAND TO END ALAVANYO, NKONYA CONFLICT

Gov’t may acquire 100-year disputed land to end Alavanyo, Nkonya conflict

Source: Ghana | Myjoyonline.com | Austin Brako-Powers | Austin.powers@myjoyonline.com
Date: 20th-april-2017 Time:  2:03:59 pm

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The government has indicated it may have to compulsorily acquire a disputed land which has been the subject of a-100-year-old deadly conflict between two communities in the Volta Region.

The land covering an area of 6,459.82 acres has formed the basis for a protracted conflict between the people of Alavanyo and Nkonya and has resulted in the death of hundreds of people and disruption of a 300-year-old relationship between the two communities.

Volta Regional Minister, Dr Archibald Letsa told Joy News Thursday government may possess the land to end the protracted dispute.

He said the two factions have indicated their preparedness to release the land for use by the state.

The Regional Minister’s comments come hours after two people were shot dead, with two others sustaining gun wounds at Nkonya in renewed violence Wednesday.

The attack happened minutes after the Interior Ministry reviewed the curfew imposed in the area as part of its periodic reviews.

The Police in the Region have said the perpetrators of the violence came from Alavanyo, who are claiming title to the land.

Kpando Divisional Police Chief Superintendent, Prosper Ahwirigya, told Joy News the attack happened between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Wednesday.

He said, “The soldiers on the ground were monitoring events because the attack was coming from that [Alavanyo] direction.”

The disputed land is fertile for agrarian purposes, rich in timber and is alleged to have deposits of gold, clay and mercury.

Experts have said while the conflict is known to have been caused by a boundary dispute, it is the raising of timber, court verdicts, ethnic politics, and the reinvention of history that constitute the major drivers of the dispute.

The dispute is said to have dated back to 1913 when the area was still under German control. A map was drawn by German Colonial Cartographer, Hans Gruner, in an effort to settle the dispute but it did not work.

The British also took over the land in 1920 and tried to resolve the conflict, but it also failed.

This compelled members of Nkonya, who claimed ownership of the land on the basis of first come status, to take the matter to court in 1953.

Court rulings from 1953 to 1980, five in all, have all favoured Nkonya on the basis of the Gruner map but the dispute has persisted.

Dr Letsa said law lawbreakers have taken advantage of the situatioin to engage in illegalities such as illegal logging and cultivation of Indian Hemp.

"Government is going to take up the land to see whether that will bring lasting peace to the people," he said, adding none of the factions has opposed that.

He said government will make good use of the land so that communities living nearby will benefit. "If you have the land and you can't go to farm on it, that means that there is going to be hunger."

Dr Letsa said the Regional Security Council (REGSEC) will liaise with the Regional Peace Council and two District Security Councils to resolve the resurge dispute from escalating.

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