Member of Parliament representing Tamale North Constituency, Alhassan Sayibu Suhuyini, made a claim accusing the government of engaging land guards to safeguard state lands.
The lawmaker’s accusation was in response to a statement made by Professor Patrick Agbesinyale, the Chief Director of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources (MLNR), during a meeting with the Parliamentary Select Committee on Lands and Forestry.
In that meeting, the director indicated that the ministry has allegedly resorted to engaging a land guard to retrieve and protect government lands.
Ghana has been grappling with the rate at which state lands are being encroached upon by individuals, organisations and groups.
The government in 2012 began a state land reclamation exercise aimed at repossessing lands that belong to the state but have been encroached upon illegally.
In doing this, the MP for Tamale North said the government is engaging the services of some land guards to protect the state lands as the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources cannot protect these lands themselves.
However, moments after the lawmaker made these claims, all three of the institutions that were indited by the MP came out to vehemently refute the claims.
Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources
In a statement dated July 17, 2023, the ministry said it wants to set the record straight.
It indicated that the government and for that matter, the ministry does not contract the services to assist in reclaiming encroached government lands.
The ministry stated that it has only engaged the services of Aynok Holding Limited, a registered limited liability company to assist in the reclamation process.
Ghana Armed Forces
After the Ministry came out, the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) also released their statement on the same day to disassociate themselves from the claims by the MP for Tamale North.
In their statement, the forces described the claim as ‘unimaginable’ that the military cannot protect its lands but rather indulge in illegality by relying on the services of land guards.
As an institution responsible for protecting the frontiers of the country against external threats, the Armed Forces indicated that it remains focused on making the country safe against external forces from the Sahel Region.
In their statement, the service stated that it has not on any occasion engaged the services of land guards to reclaim or protect its lands as it is being claimed by the Alhassan Suhuyini.
It went on to say that the service has in recent times intensified its anti-land guard operations in communications affected by the activities of these land guards and this renewed effort will not stop until perpetrators of such illegal activities are brought to justice.