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General News of Thursday, 25 June 2020

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

How a third party acquired part of Nigerian embassy's land


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The Foreign Affairs Ministry has revealed how someone acquired a parcel of land that was part of a larger piece of land owned by the Nigerian High Commission in Accra.

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, said at a press conference on Wednesday, June 24, 2020, that, although the Nigeria High Commission had acquired the land legitimately, it failed to obtain all the vesting documentation.

She said this came out after a committee was constituted into to investigate why the unnamed person masterminded the destruction of a property situated on the parcel of land in contention.

The committee comprised officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, the Lands Commission, National Security Secretariat and the Ghana Police Service.

At a press conference held on Wednesday, June 25, 2020, the Foreign Affairs Minister, said it emerged from the findings of the committee that the said 4-acre parcel of land is part of vested land which is owned by the Osu Stool and managed by the Lands Commission.

However, in June 2019, the Osu Stool requested the Greater Accra Regional Lands Commission to grant a lease in respect of a part of the said land to a third party.

“The Lands Commission stated that per its processes of granting leases, its records did not reveal any previous transaction pertaining to the land in question.

“The Lands Commission revealed that a letter referenced AC 14826 of 4th July, 2019, signed by the Regional Lands Officer and addressed to the High Commission of Nigeria, informed that the Osu Stool had requested the Lands Commission to grant a lease to a third party on the land in question,” the Minister told pressmen.

According to the Minister, the Lands Commission said it advised the High Commission of Nigeria to provide relevant documents on ownership of the land, but the former did not receive any response.

She noted that the Lands Commission said, based on the silence of the High Commission of Nigeria, it went ahead and issued a Land Title Certificate covering the said parcel of land to a third party.

The Minister went on to say that “the Lands Commission has confirmed that the letter of 7th August 2000, presented by the High Commission of Nigeria granting allocation and right of entry to the High Commission, was genuine and, indeed, emanated from its Head Office.”

According to the Minister, because the Nigerian High Commission did not obtain a lease following the allocation letter, or proceed to obtain a Land Title Certificate or even a building permit for the new property, a search by the Lands Commission did not show that any proper documentation had been obtained in respect of the property.

Meanwhile, she announced that the government of Ghana will ensure that the demolished building is restored to its original state, as soon as possible, at a cost to the people of Ghana.

Also, the Lands Commission has been directed to issue a letter to the Osu Traditional Council – which had sold the parcel of the land to a third party – stating that in August 2000, a formal offer was made to the High Commission of Nigeria with respect to the parcel of land in question.

According to the Ministry, the evidence adduced suggests that the offer was accepted by the High Commission and payments made, accordingly constituting a contract.



Demolition

Last Friday, June 19, 2020, a property belonging to the Nigerian High Commission in Accra was vandalised by the said interest party in the matter.

The Federal Republic of Nigeria did not hide its anger over the incident, with Lawmakers in Nigeria rejecting an apology from both the Minster and President Nana Akufo-Addo.

The Nigerians insisted that the incident was a “direct attack on the Federal Republic of Nigeria which must not go unanswered.”

But Ghana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, said Ghana was committed to sustaining the decades-old peace between the two states.

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