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General News of Wednesday, 24 June 2020

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

‘Interested party’ masterminded demolition of Nigeria High C’ssion building – Aide to Osu Chief

An Aide to the Paramount Chief of Osu has revealed that an interested party in the parcel of land that the Nigerian High Commission in Accra has been developing masterminded last week’s demolition that threatened a diplomatic row between Ghana and Nigeria.

Nii Odoi Kwao told Ghanaweb on Wednesday, June 24, 2020, that the interested party – whose identity he refused to unravel – had previously acquired the parcel of land from the Osu Stool.

He said this was one of the revelations that came out after a crunch meeting held by the Paramount Chief, Nii Okwei Kinka Dowuona VI and Stool Elders of Osu on Monday, June 22, 2020.

“At the meeting, we found out that the demolition was masterminded by an interested party in the property…it is until recently that we found out that the one whom the Stool had negotiated with could not get access to the land,” the Special Aide to the Osu Paramount Chief told GhanaWeb.

He added: “The property on which the original Nigerian High Commission was on was not sufficient for them…so they wanted more space…So I think what they [Nigerian High Commission] did was that they consulted the Lands Commission and got approval to put up some structures there without the knowledge of the Osu Stool.”

He said it also emerged during the meeting of the Chief and Elders of the Stool that these transactions with the unnamed interested party had been conducted many years ago, “and the person has been given [documents] already.”

Chiefs in Ghana act as custodians of the lands and are mandated by the law and locally prevailing customs and traditions to make decisions on behalf of their subjects.



Diplomatic row

Armed men last Friday, June 19, 2020, stormed a parcel of land in Accra, with bulldozers and demolished uncompleted structures on the property.

The demolished buildings were being developed by the Nigerian High Commission; however, the Osu Traditional Council says the parcel of land on which the buildings were situated was not part of the High Commission’s land.

The incident took on a diplomatic twist after speculations that some of the armed men looked like personnel from Ghana’s National Security, but the government of Ghana has denied any involvement.

Ghana’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, has also condemned the incident and has promised to initiate a thorough probe into the matter.

The Nigerian Presidency has said Ghana’s President, Nana Akufo-Addo, has called President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria to apologise.

Regret

Nii Odoi Kwao told GhanaWeb that the Stool is worried about the diplomatic twist the matter has taken and promised to initiate firm steps to ensure a peaceful resolution of the matter.

“We are not happy about the diplomatic row that it has generated and we are also not happy about the way the Nigerians are taking the matter. Even if everything is resolved, they are still going to stay with us,” he said.

“We seek a peaceful resolution,” he stressed.

He said the Osu Stool is conducting its own investigation into the matter to see if the said interest party obtained a valid court order before proceeding onto the land to demolish the property belonging to the Nigerian High Commission.

He also said the investigation will seek to unearth the extent to which people affiliated to the Osu Stool are involved in the incident.

“If an apology has to be rendered, we will do that,” he said.

Meanwhile, Nii Nortey Owuo III, who also describes himself as Osu Mantse [Chief of Osu] has in a press statement released today condemned the demolition exercise, calling it an “unwarranted act of sheer vandalism.”

Although Nii Okwei Kinka Dowuona VI is regarded generally as the bonafide overlord of the Osu Traditional Area, the release by Nii Nortey Owuo III suggests there is a dispute over the custodian of the Osu Stool.



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