Regional News of Friday, 1 March 2013
Source: Daily Guide
Some illegal gold miners at Obuasi in the Ashanti Region are fighting the Tutuka branch of Church of Christ over a piece of land in front of the church’s auditorium at Sampsonkrom.
The illegal miners, popularly known as galamsey operators, on February 2, 2013 threatened to kill members of the church after invading the church premises with offensive weapons, during which they surrounded the congregation.
The group demanded that the church cede the landed property to them, claiming they had bought it from the chief of Tutuka, Nana Kwame Kwarteng.
They could not show any proof of documentation covering the property, except to ask the church to desist from its attempt to develop the place into a car park, as planned by the executive members of the church.
The landed property, located on a hill top opposite the Obuasi Divisional Police Headquarters, currently houses the Church of Christ’s auditorium for worship.
The church’s claim to the land dates back to 2003 when the plot and its structure were sold to it by the legal and equitable owners, while the galamsey operators also lay claim to the front portion of the land which they said was sold to them by Nana Kwame Kwarteng, after he had inherited the land from the Akrokerri Traditional Council.
A member of the church, Charles Owusu, who insisted the action of the galamseyers amounted to trespassing, showed DAILY GUIDE documents covering the said landed property.
It included development permit from the Municipal Assembly as well as a site plan in accordance with the National Building Regulation of 1996.
The documents revealed that the church owns the land.
But the chief of Tutuka said the church could not claim that portion of the land as it belonged to Nananom.
He confirmed to DAILY GUIDE in an interview that he, on behalf of the Akrokerri Traditional Council, sold it out to the miners for development after they approached Nananom.
Nana Kwarteng insisted that the Church of Christ had no business contesting the land since it did not form part of the church’s landed property.
He questioned the validity of the documents covering the property, asserting that the church could not have any documents for the land without recourse to them.
Regent of Akrokerri Traditional Council, Nana Kofi Anokye, backed the comment of the Tutuka Odikro, insisting the piece of land did not belong to the Church of Christ.
According to him, the church should have come to the traditional council for a review of any documentation received from the original owner of the property, as they remained custodians of lands in the area.
But members of the church said while they did not intend to engage the galamsey operators in any violent confrontation; they were equally prepared to use any legal means possible to protect their land.
Mr. Owusu said that portion of the land could not be ceded to any individual or group as it remained the entrance to the church.
“You don’t need a pair of eagle eyes to see that the portion the galamsey operators are claiming is part of our landed property,” he added.