Residents of Dedeso -Wirako Resettlement Community in Fanteakwa North District in the Eastern Region are, agitating over attempt by a chief in Akyem Abuakwa to dispossess them of state acquired land on which they farm for livelihood.
The angry residents alleged that, the chief - Osabarima Bosompem Ayirepe II, is spearheading the land dispossession attacks in the community with gun wielding thugs violently grabbing farmlands from families and asking them to vacate to their ancestral homes, since the area belongs to Akyem Abuakwa.
The construction of Akosombo Hydroelectric Dam in 1961, created the Volta Lake which displaced 730 villages with a total population of 80,000 people.
These displaced people were relocated and resettled by the state in fifty-two (52) townships spread over four (4) regions of the country; namely Volta, Oti, Eastern, Bono East, Northern and Savannah Regions and covering seventeen (17) districts of the country.
However , after 60 years of resettlement ,chiefs and elders of Dedeso Wirako Resettlement community in Fanteakwa North District in the Eastern region say ,their 8,700.24Km land acquired by government of Ghana in 1969 by Executive Instrument (EI.54) for the resettled families for agricultural purposes are being taken away from them by the Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Council .
The agitating residents say, the Chief Osabarima Bosompem Ayirepe II - regent of Begoro, has invaded the community with gun wielding thugs chasing away farmers and taken away their farm lands amidst gunshots that, the lands belong to Akyem Abuakwa since Osagyefuo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah did not pay compensation for the lands acquired.
The said Chief and his thugs are reportedly selling the farmlands in the area to investors and herdsmen without the consents of families in the resettlement community.
The residents also alleged that, the Chief and his armed men have also seized a bungalow meant for teachers and Nurses posted to the community hence a community center has been converted into accommodation facility for the affected persons.
Addressing the media in the community, the convener Michael Teye Sackitey said, the community will rise against the Chief and his armed land guards terrorizing and dispossessing them of their farmlands if the security and stakeholders fail to stop them.
"Opanin Bosompem with his armed thugs came to the community on Saturday the 17th day of February 2019, Wednesday 20th day of February and Friday 27th February ,2019 and gave open gun shots. This brought about fear and panic situations in the community. some of the casings were picked up by some community members to lodge complaint at the District Police command at Akyem Begoro in the presence of the Fanteakwa North DCE but nothing was done about it "
"He fearlessly repeated the same act of unlawful shootings on 14th June ,2020.On 17th June 2020 at about 5;00pm, he ordered nine land guards ,well-armed led by his son ,one William to Petefuor and Agavedzi communities to chase out farmers with gunshots .On April 4,2020 ,the said chief stormed the community again with his armed thugs to assault one Samuel Batsa who is a settler on his farm. There have been subsequent persistent unlawful arrests and detention of the people in this community "
The angry residents have given a week ultimatum to the said Chief to vacate from the community else residents will take the laws into their own hands to deal with him and secure their lands.
"We the settlers of Dedeso-Wirako want to give opanin Bosompem, the self -acclaimed chief of the area, one -week ultimatum to vacate the land or would be forced to move. We are as a matter of urgency urging him to stop holding himself as a chief of Dedeso-Wirako VRA Resettlement township since he is not a settler. He should vacate the bungalow meant for government officials and desist from occupying the said land, return the chairs and mattresses in his disposal to the community as soon as possible"
They called on President Akufo Addo and stakeholders to intervene to bring finality to the land dispute on state acquired lands for persons displaced by the construction of the Akosombo Dam.
Reacting to the allegations leveled him, Osabarima Bosompem Ayirepe II explained that the area was not properly acquired by government as state land.
He said therefore ,the occupants of the land are squatters .
"They are squatters . Should the Akyems begin to react to what they are doing it will not ulga well for all of us . The land they are occupying is for Akyem Abuakwa Traditional area . Can any Akyem or Ewe go to Manya Krobo and Volta region to misbehave like what they are doing .we have reported them to the Police . If they say the area is state land that is not true .State didn't pay compensation to anyone . So it is not state land ."
He continued " Our lawyers are going to contest this . Can you acquire a land by just a word of mouth ? They should go to their hometowns-Manya Krobo and Volta Region. We have lived peacefully with them for years but those that are causing trouble are squatters farmers."
The Chief denied the allegation of using landgaurds and armed thugs .
"They would have been beheaded and killed by now If I have been using armed thugs. It is not true . They can't litigate with me .They said they have given me a week ultimatum to leave . what ? settlers issuing threat to me , tell them I rather given them three days to leave".