Anger is mounting at Dzorwulu in the Ayawaso West municipality in the Greater Accra region following an eviction notice and demolition threat issued to occupants of railway lands on the Nyaho Hospital stretch of the area.
The eviction and demolition notice is likely to affect over 300 private properties which includes the popular Asuma Banda Mosque and over 1,000 livelihoods.
In view of that most of the residents are not happy about the planned exercise and have vowed to resist any attempts to be forcibly ejected for the land to be given to another claimant.
The notice which was signed and issued on 22nd September 2023 by Madam Susana Delali Akosua Kudjoe, Deputy Chief Executive, General Services at GRDA for the Chief Executive Officer of the authority said, “You are by this letter notified and final notice is hereby given you to vacate occupation of the said land by 30th September 2023”.
The notice distributed to the over 300 occupants of the land including caretakers of the Asuma Banda Mosque warned that, “The consequences of your failure to comply with the order will not be in your interest as there will be no further notice of our action”.
The demolition notice is however said to have been issued at the blind side of Mr Yaw Owusu, Chief Executive Officer of GRDA despite being issued on his behalf.
What is worrying is that the Deputy CEO Susana Delali Akosua Kudjoe who is hell bent on carrying out the demolition exercise with the support of one Edem Danku, Deputy Director, Estate and Commercial Unit of the Authority is alleged to have ignored attempts by the Member of Parliament (MP) for Ayawaso West Wuogon, Lydia Alhassan to have the exercise shelved entirely because of the repercussions it will have not only on the political fortunes of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) but the livelihoods of over 1,000 residents on the railway land stretch.
Already, one Daasebre Dr Asumadu Nyarko Appiah, Chief of Akyem Wenchi and Oseawuomanhene of Akyem Abuakwa Traditional in the Eastern Region recently laid claim to all the railway lands on that stretch claiming that the Ghana Railway Development Authority sold all that stretch of land to him despite the occupants also claiming to have a 50-year lease agreement with the authority.
Initial attempts by Daasebre Dr Asumadu Nyarko Appiah to evict the occupants with an eviction notice and threat of legal action brewed tension in the area compelling him to resort to the law courts for redress.
Even though the matter is in court, the latest move by the deputy CEO is said to be orchestrated and if successful, to pave way for the chief to take over the state land on that stretch of the Nyaho Hospital area.
The current impasse at Dzorlwulu appears to be the tip of the iceberg with several state lands leased out for fees and ground rent being sold out like ‘kelewele’ by the officials at the GRDA leading to legal battles at the courts.
Only recently a parcel of land at Avenor in the Ayawaso West Municipality which has for over 25 years been leased out for a fee (ground rent) to one Atta, a truck Mechanic was sold to a private legal practitioner, thus triggering a court action in the process.
What is disturbing is that despite the GRDA disallowing the construction of permanent structures on these state lands, those being sold the land plan to erect permanent structures against the laid down rules and laws of the authority.
Currently, there is uneasy calm in the area as the demolition threat by the GRDA appears to be reverberating with constant threat visits to the area by the deputy CEO, Susana Delali Akosua Kudjoe.
Meanwhile, the hundreds of occupants of the railway land at Dzorwulu who claim to have legitimate documents from the Ghana Railway Company have vowed never to vacate the area.
They have thus appealed to President Nana Akufo-Addo, the Chief of Staff, Frema Opare who was once the Member of Parliament (MP) for the area and the Council of State to intervene and ensure an amicably resolution of the issue so as to avoid any bloodshed or destruction to property.
It was gathered that the traders and occupants have been living peacefully and plying their trade in the area until power changed hands in 2016 when rumours emerged that somebody had begun to claim ownership of the lands bordering the railway lines at the Nyaho Clinic area which stretches from Asuma Banda’s Mosque all the way to the Roman Ridge intersection at the railway line.
This paper gathered that the traders did not take the matter seriously until the early part of this year January 2023 when Nana Daasebre Dr Asumadu Nyarko Appiah, Chief of Akyem Wenchi and Oseawuomanhene of Akyem Abuakwa Traditional area caused notices through his lawyers, Kings Law Consult to be dispatched to them (traders) claiming ownership of the entire stretch of the railway lands which are the bonafide property of the government of Ghana.
In an eviction notice served which was a letter written on 14th December 2022 signed by one Christopher King, of Kings Law Consult on behalf of Nana Daasebre Dr Asumadu Nyarko Appiah it said, “We write and act as solicitors for and on behalf of Benfipiah Group Limited with peremptory instructions. Our instruction is that our client purchased a parcel of land situate and lying at Tema Line from the Ghana Railway Company”.
Our client instructs us that you have trespassed upon its property and have been operating a shop on its land for some time now. It is our instruction that our client wants to start development on the land and therefore wishes to have the land vacant”,
“We demand that you vacate our client’s property within the next 14 days, by 6th January, 2023 failing which we have our client’s peremptory instructions to commence legal action against you and to make the requisite claim for mesne rent and other damages, fees and costs”, portions of the letter read.
However, some letters of leases granted to the occupants by the Ghana railway Company Limited showed that some of the traders have been on the land since 2001 and in some cases 1999 and being paying their ground rent to the Ghana Railway Company Limited till date.
A suit or writ of summons filed at the Accra High Court by Benfipiah Group Limited through its Chief Executive Officer, Daasebre Nyarko Asumadu Appiah against the traders who are the defendants namely Beauratex Clothing, Bolegatanga, TNATYS Fashion, Akwei Alla, Eye Awurade Chop Bar, Mama Chris, Nyame Nti Chop Bar claims among many others that the land was leased to him by the Ghana Railway Company in the year 2008 for a period of fifty (50) years.
“The Plaintiff avers that he was issued with an indenture dated 1st July 2008 by the Ghana railway Company.
“The Plaintiff avers that it effectively took possession of the land by putting some containers on the land but without its consent and authority the defendants began encroaching on its land and attempts to remove the trespassers from its land in order to develop it has proved futile and the defendants have failed to vacate the land.
However, the defendants in their counter claim denied all the claims and averments by the plaintiff, Daasebre Nyarko Asumadu Appiah insisting some of them were leased the land as far back as 2001 and in some cases 1999.