Minister for Defence, Mr. Dominic Nitiwul, has cautioned individuals or groups of persons occupying Ghana Armed Forces land across the country to vacate said land by the end of this year.
“Well, ignorance is not an excuse, it is your duty to go to the Lands Commission and check if the land sold to you is for government or a stool land; if you build on any of the Armed Forces land, you are doing it at your own risk – and for that you will not be compensated,” he said.
“Encroachment is a serious problem and the Armed Forces must show a little of their muscle in protecting their lands, and government will support them,” he added.
The minister was speaking to the media when he visited the Western Naval Command at Sekondi as part of his two-day working visit in the Western Region.
“I have asked the Navy to write to the Regional Minister and the Metropolitan Chief Executive so that they will be taking action by December 31, 2007 to remove all those who are illegally encroaching on those lands,” he said.
He pointed out that the lands are in prime areas and the Armed Forces need them to be able to settle well and protect them.
He hinted that government is doing a barracks regeneration programme and will need land to build the kind of houses needed for the Armed Forces across the country.
“Over the next four years, we will be building more residential accommodations and renovating the old ones,” he said.
Currently, the minister said, there are 4 -16 housing units at Burma Camp that will be completed by December this year, or January next year, for people to be housed.
He disclosed that President, Nana Akuffo-Addo will be commissioning some 380 housing units which are expected to be completed by January next year.
Also, Mr. Nitiwul mentioned that government has released about GH¢23million to complete all the housing units – ‘SSNIT housing units’ – that have been stalled since 2007: “We are currently working to ensure that all contractors get paid so they can resume work”.
He announced that from next year government will roll out in every Garrison the construction of new housing units. “I came here and your officers took me round, and I realised that the accommodation issue needs to be tackled quickly.
“Even for those who have accommodation, I do not think it is good for them to continue staying in it; people will come and have to live outside the barracks, and that should not happen,” he added.
“What I want to plead with you is that at a point we will be calling on you to help, because we have realised that it is very expensive for us to be constructing using contractors,” the Defence Minister said.
“I am in discussions with your Military High Command to see what we can do to ensure that the resources are rather given to you, so that you and all of us can help in making sure you are building to the taste that you want,” he said.
By Juliet Aguiar Dugbarteyl thebftonline.com l Ghana