In the wake of concerns over the government’s decision to declassify portions of the Achimota Forest as no longer a reserve, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abdulai Jinapor, has assured that the government will protect the forest from exploitation by encroachers.
“The government, through the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, will continue to protect the Achimota Forest and prevent it from being further encroached.”
“Government is also committed to ensuring that whatever that happens on the peripheral portions of the land, does not affect the ecological integrity of the Forest” the Minister clarified at a press conference on Tuesday, May 17, 2022.
The government has refuted claims that it intends to sell the Achimota Forest Reserve.
This is after speculation that an Executive Instrument, E.I. 144, declassifying portions of the Achimota Forest as a reserve was an intent to develop the land.
At a press conference on Tuesday evening, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Jinapor, said the E.I. pertained to 361 acres of peripherals of the Achimota forest that the government s returning to its custodial owners, identified as the Owoo Family.
The land was returned because it was not being used for its intended purpose, which included the extension of the Achimota School.
The family’s quest to retain its land dates back to 2007, when it petitioned President John Kufuor for the release of the portion of the Forest Reserve adjoining the Tema motorway.
After consultations between the Presidency, it was recommended that the petition be granted.
In 2011, the Owoo Family, submitted another petition to the then Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, for the grant of portions of the Forest Reserve.
The Minister constituted a committee to inquire into the legitimacy of the request that was eventually granted.
During the press conference, Mr. Jinapor explained that the E.I. declassifying the parts of the forest was accompanied by a separate E.I., 154, “which states emphatically, the area of the forest shall remain a Forest Reserve.”
“What EI 144 does is to make the peripheral portions of the Forest Reserve, which had already been granted to the Owoo Family in September 2013, portions of which have already been developed, cease to be a Forest Reserve, to ensure a development that is consistent with the area of the Forest Reserve,” the minister explained.
The Minister believes “both instruments contain adequate provisions that seek to protect the ecological integrity of the Forest Reserve.”
Mr. Jinapor assured further that forest was integral to the government’s agenda for aggressive afforestation and reforestation.
“The Government, through the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, will continue to protect the Achimota Forest and prevent it from being further encroached.”