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Regional News of Friday, 21 May 2021

Source: Hamza Lansah Lolly, Contributor

We don’t sell lands - Lands Commission denies Minority Leader’s claim

Northern Regional Lands Commission, Lawyer Dubik Mahama Yakubu Northern Regional Lands Commission, Lawyer Dubik Mahama Yakubu

The Northern Regional Lands Commission, Lawyer Dubik Mahama Yakubu has vehemently denied claims that the commission sold the Tamale Timber market land to a private developer.

Tamale South MP, Hon Haruna Iddrisu interacting with his constituents on Saturday, May 1, 2021, claimed that government has sold the Timber market land.

The Minority Leader also alleged that the said land was the property of the Forestry Commission.

Speaking at a press conference in Tamale, Thursday, May 20, 2021, the Northern Regional Chairman of the Lands Commission, Lawyer Dubik Mahama Yakubu debunked the assertions of the Minority Leader and described it as unfortunate and misleading.

He reiterated that the timber market has not been sold to anybody and no individual and group of persons have been served with notices to vacate the timber market as Mr Haruna Iddrisu wants the world to believe.

“The Lands Commission finds this statement by the Honourable Member of Parliament rather unfortunate and misleading. The Commission wishes to inform the general public and particularly people doing business in the market that the timber market has not been sold to anybody.

"It was also not true that those occupying the place and doing business in timber market have been served with notices to vacate the place. No notice as served on anyone and the Hon. Member of Parliament can attest to the fact that as to whether those he met that day showed him copies of notices that were served on them,” he said

“Furthermore, his assertion that the timber market is a property of Forestry Commission is not accurate as the record at the Lands Commission does not reflect that assertion,” he added

Lawyer Dubik revealed that the only plot that was given to private developer was not part of the Timber market land but a commercial plot that was allocated to a Tamale businessman to build an ultra-modern mall for the people of Tamale.

"The plot that was lease to the developer is a commercial plot by the roadside between the Commercial Bank and the Shell Filling Station part of which was used by GNTC of old. There is a road separating this site from the timber market. It is to be used for a commercial purpose just as the old GNTC was a commercial entity," he explained.

The Lands Commission’s Chairman said the Tamale timber market is a State Land which is covered by a planning scheme or a layout.

“People who do business there have been on this land for several years without paying anything to the state. It is inconceivable however for anybody to attempt to move these people from there and give the place to another. What we can be done, to help them regularize their stay there, by requesting them to apply for a lease to cover their holdings”.

Lawyer Dubik said, regularising the stay of businesses at the timber market will provide more security for them, saying that, the idea was mooted last year but preliminary discussions with their leaders did not go far.

He noted that Lands Commission is the only body that manages state lands in the country, therefore, for someone to say it can direct the Commission as to how the state lands are managed is a misconception.

“It is important to note that the Lands Commission does not sell state lands but leases them to developers for the benefit of society. Those who are peddling this falsehood are doing so to enhance their political objectives and promote insecurity for their personal aggrandizement”. He stated

Laywer Dubik Mahama emphasied that the Land Commission follows due process in allocating lands in the three Northern Regions including, Northern Region, North-East and Savannah.

“So as a professional lawyer I do not intend to superintend over mismanagement lands in these regions. For the past four years, we have managed the lands in the regions creditably and the three kings and their elders can attest to this”.

He hinted that Lands Commission under his administration has been instructed to decentralized and set up the lands Administration in the three Northern Regions.

“We are busily liaising up with Chiefs, opinion leaders and all stakeholders to ensure a peaceful and orderly transfer of files to Damongo and Nalerigu in furtherance of the creation of the respective Lands Commission Administration therein”.He added

The Lands Commission Chairman noted that the commission is working with the custodians of the lands and so far their relationship with the chiefs and traditional authorities in managing the affairs lands and its related issues has been excellent.

Lawyer Dubik thanked the overlords of Dagbon, Gonja, Mamprugu andNanum kingdoms and their elders for their unflinching support for the Lands Commission in their respective Regions.

The Northern Regional Surveyor of the Lands Commission, Mr. Benjamin Jojoe Adu-Hanson hinted that the 14.4 acres of land occupied by businesses at the timber market have never paid any pesewa to the state.

He added that the lands commission must also generate income for the state.

He said, the Commission has started an educational drive to conscientize the public about the works of the Lands Commission, an initiative he believed will bring the Lands Commission closer to the people.

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