On May 14, 2019, thus exactly two years today, the then-Minister of Works and House, Samuel Atta Kyea at a new conference told the media that residence of the Nima-Mamobi area who will be affected by the government’s redevelopment plan of their area will be compensated with a ‘glamorous apartments’.
The Minister was addressing concerns by the residents of the slum areas following President Nana Akufo-Addo’s statement during the 2019 State of the Nation Address that plans were underway to transform Nima as part of plans to “regenerate” the area.
“The most exciting news on the housing landscape, though, is the drafting of plans to regenerate Nima, which holds the dubious title of being Accra’s first slum. It has, of course, progressed very much since those early days, even if it has been unable to shake off the urban-slum title.
I am a proud resident of Nima myself, and I am extremely excited that the regeneration plans will not dislodge or dispossess residents, but would rather transform Nima into a well-laid out residential area with full amenities. I am looking forward to it, good work that is being done by the Ministries of Inner City and Zongo Development and Works and Housing.” – President Akufo-Addo said
The announcement at the time did not go down well with residents who raised concerns that the move is an attempt to dislodge them.
“We are aware that the people of Nima have their own homes. We are not going to dislodge them. We are going to build executive flats and housing arrangement for them and they will move in free of charge. This is to create a better environment for them so that the land space where they are will be released to the developer. The developer can decide that this space that he has will be more glamorous than Villagio, which will compensate them for the properties that they have released for them.”
“The residents can now sell their Villagio structures to cancel out the cost. This is what we are trying to do but they will live in the modern structures free of charge. But, they will own it because we took the slum and we used the land for benefit. So they will have it for free of charge. That is how to go”, The Housing Minister told news men.
Two years after the President made this announcement and the then Minister assured the people of Nima and Mamobi of free modern apartments, Awake News’ Promises Tracker team has been asking “Where is the Villagio-like housing units for Nima and Mamobi?” as there are no signs that the Ministry of Works and Housing has ever initiated any steps towards the realization of that dream.
On social media, the Promises Tracker team sighted an article written by the Greater Accra Deputy Regional Youth Organizer, Amos Blessing Amorse in defense of the people of Nima and Mamobi.
Read what he wrote at the time:
The utterances and posturing of government officials following the announcement of a glamorous Villagio-like housing units for the good people of Nima/Mamobi signal an impending danger for the over 300,000 inhabitants. The minister, his deputy and government spokespersons are quick to remind Ghanaians that the whole of Nima/Mamobi lands are state lands.
What this means is that the over 300,000 inhabitants, as Hon Yussif Jajah guestimated yesterday on Citi FM, have no title to any piece of land within that enclave. Put differently, the Akufo Addo government is telling the people of Nima/Mamobi that they are all squatters, and by the end of this year, they will be shoved aside to pave way for a private developer to put up the Villagio-like houses.
Though I’m not an inhabitants of these two densely populated communities, I’ll on any day contest the claim that all Nima/Mamobi lands are state lands. I’ll agree with government if the claim is that part of Nima/Mamobi lands are state lands. I hold this view because, throughout my 10 years “dealings” with the people of Nima/Mamobi, I’ve cited Land title documents executed in the name of individuals and families. Some have been subject of marathon litigations amongst two or more competing interests of which the courts have found for the rightful owner(s). The claim is further flawed considering the fact that President Akufo Addo has his private resident cited on Nima/Mamobi land. If the whole Nima/Mamobi lands are state lands, making the inhabitants squatters, then the President was and, is still a squatter like his neighbors.
Again, if the whole of Nima/Mamobi lands are state lands, a search at the Lands Commission would have revealed same, and no individual would have been permitted by any tribunal to hold allodial or freehold interest in any portion of it. The Works and Housing Minister, Samuel Atta Kyea, made a categorical statement that no individual, family or stool holds allodial interest in any portion of the land under discussion. This position, again, cannot be wholly true on the basis of reasons cited above.
But why would a government with genuine interest of building Villagio-like houses for people for free be so much interested in reminding the supposed beneficiaries of government’s benevolence that they are squatters? The NPP government has notorious record when it comes to acquiring state lands, and this may be one of the ways they intend to grab portions of Mamobi/Nima lands that are state lands.
Government is likely to face stiff resistence from persons who holds allodial and freehold interest in the land. The minister, a lawyer of repute, knows or ought to have known that government cannot jump into using state lands for anything it desires because it is so classified as state land under article 257(2) of the 1992 constitution. If it turns out that portions of the Nima/Mamobi lands are state lands and government intends to develop it, it must, first and foremost, consider the dictates of article 20(5) and (6). This is very important because the allodial bearers of that land are most likely to mount fierce legal challenge like it happened in the Last wireless land case resulting in the Supreme Court decision in Nii Kopbi Tettey Tsuru v Attorney General.
This project is a laudable one but government must adopt a refined approach. All the principal actors must be engaged to avoid unnecessary bickering. The Assembly man for Nima West, MP for Ayawaso North and some chiefs from the area have denied knowledge of any such project. This means they have not been involved in the process so far. Government must hasten slowly. A major project like this cannot be executed without the active involvement of these principal actors.
#let the Villagio-like house flow now
By: Efo Korsi Senyo / awakenewsroom.com
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