the protest is organized to save the forest in Achimota

In Ghana, protests are being organized to save the Achimota forest. Fifteen ecological and civil society associations have since Tuesday 28 June and again this Wednesday demonstrated against a government decision to return plots located in protected areas in the forest reserve to traditional owners. According to them, this decision will amputate almost 400 hectares of forest.

It is an area of ​​more than 1000 hectares, right in the heart of the capital Accra. Inside the forest, a reserve that is home to many animal and plant species. In April, 361 hectares of this site were vacated to be given to a royal family in the region claiming historic ownership.

This decision is questioned by Bernard Mornah, a member of the Arise Ghana collective, which brings together about fifteen NGOs: “We, the young people, think it is an attack on our environment. It’s a theft of the land that our ancestors bequeathed to us. In the end, it will only be President Nana Akufo-Addo and his cronies who will benefit, and the rest of Ghanaian society will drink. “

What set things on fire was the publication in the press of a will according to which the former chairman of the Forestry Commission, who was also a member of the ruling party, bequeathed plots of land to his relatives for this forest.

“Land transfers are illegal and unconstitutional” In the midst of the call, the government launched a corruption investigation in May, while insisting that the land handed over is public and not in protected areas. Jay Jay Koranteng, from NGO Occupy Ghana, is not convinced. “We are convinced that land transfers are illegal and unconstitutional. If the government claims that certain lands are public, it must provide a legislative instrument that shows at what point in our history these lands became public and therefore were no longer protected.” The collective requested proof of downgrading from the land commission, which has so far not responded.

There is also a fear that it will encourage industrial exploitation in the Ghanaian capital’s only green lung.

The Achimota forest is not only an excellent carbon sink for the city to re-oxygenate, it plays an important role in the flow of water to the sea. We have noticed that as humans have invaded this sensitive ecological zone, floods have become more frequent. This has enormous consequences for poor people and their livelihoods. Because the places that are flooded protect the most vulnerable.

Bright Simons (Imani Africa): “Achimota Forest is not just an excellent coal sink”

The Ghanaian Ministry of Land and Natural Resource Management did not respond to our requests.

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