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E.I 144 is in breach of Act 925 – Minority on declassification of Achimota Forest

The Minority in Parliament has asked President Akufo-Addo to revoke Executive Instrument 144 which seeks to declassify some portions of the Achimota Forest Reserve.

Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu in a statement on Tuesday noted that Executive Instrument 144 is in breach of the provisions of the Land Use and Spatial Planning Act, 2016 (Act 925).

He explained that per the Act, the regulation of land use and spatial planning in Ghana is not conferred on the President.

He contended that the President’s exercise of power for the issuance of the Executive Instrument 144 pursuant to section 19 of the Forest Act, 1927 (CAP. 157) is untenable as “Section 90(1) of Act 925 provides that: Where a provision of this Act is in conflict with any other enactment relating to land use, the provision of this Act shall prevail.”

“The Executive Instrument numbered 144, the Forests (Cessation of Forest Reserve) Instrument, 2022 issued “By Command of the President” and signed by the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, claims to be made in exercise of the power conferred on the President by section 19 of the Forest Act, 1927 (CAP. 157). However, the current law regulating land use and spatial planning in Ghana is the Land Use and Spatial Planning Act, 2016 (Act 925). It is clear that Executive Instrument 144 is in breach of the provisions of Act 925,” portions of the statement read.

For this reason, the Minority wants the President “to do what is right and proper by respecting the provisions in the Land Use and Spatial Planning Act, 2016 (Act 925) and the letter and spirit of the 1992 Constitution of actually holding public lands on behalf of, and in trust for, the people of Ghana.”

“It would be in the President’s own interest and the interest of his Government simply to revoke the E.I. 144 instead of, once again, showing contempt for the laws of Ghana and the interest of the Ghanaian people,” the statement from Minority read.

The Caucus said Section 93(4) of Act 925 which relates to the change or use or re-zoning of a public space requires Parliament’s approval before such action. Thus, they believe once Parliament has not given approval to such action, government cannot declassify the Achimota Forest reserves land.

“Section 93(4) of Act 925 which relates to the change or use or re-zoning of a public space, states unequivocally that: “the change of use or re-zoning of a public space shall be subjected to approval by Parliament.

E.I 144 is in breach of Act 925 - Minority on declassification of Achimota Forest
Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel A. Jinapor

“Therefore, besides the role of the District Spatial Planning Committee, Parliamentary approval is, therefore, a requirement for the change of use or re-zoning of the Achimota Forest Reserve area. Section 96 of Act 925 requires that the re-zoning to be done before Government can convey the land to any person.”

Background

Last week, the President signed an Executive Instrument to declassify the Achimota Forest.

The Instrument gazetted on behalf of President Akufo-Addo by the Lands Minister, Samuel Abdulai Jinapor, stipulated that effective May 1, 2022, the land on which the Forest is located shall cease to be a forest reserve, pursuant to Section 19 of the Forest Act, 1927 (CAP. 157).

The cessation, per that document, was to be effective on May 1, 2022.

However, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, has said the government is not selling the land.

According to him, plans are rather afoot to upgrade the Achimota Forest into a world-class asset.

Addressing the press on Tuesday, May 17, the sector Minister emphasised that widespread reports about the supposed sale of the Forest are false and baseless, as government has no such plans.

“The government intends to enrich the Achimota forest, revamp it and hopefully, in the not too distant future, transform it into the likes of High Park of London and Central Park of New York, where Ghanaians can go and enjoy the beauty of nature and forest reserve as it happens in other parts of the world”.

News

‘Charity begins at home; comply with asset declaration law’ – Speaker tells MPs

The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, has charged Members of Parliament to strictly comply with the asset declaration law.

In his view, MPs can only hold members of the Executive accountable if they comply with the law.

“Parliament must be open, transparent and accountable to the people. As the saying goes, charity begins at home.

“As the Constitutional and Legal Head of the institution of Parliament  … I pledge to lead this effort by example,” he said.

According to him, “he will take up this role together with the leadership of the House “initiate discussions with relevant state actors to put in place measures and systems to ensure that all members and staff of Parliament comply with the declaration of assets, tax obligations and honour all outstanding issues of overpayment and underpayment reported on by the Auditor-General, from 2001 to 2008 and 2009 to 2016.”

The Speaker added that he would ensure the process begins soon.

'Charity begins at home; comply with asset declaration law' – Speaker tells MPs
Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin chairing Parliament proceedings.

“Sooner than later, members will be informed through the usual channels about how this will be done. The proposal is to put a team in place to liaise with the state and non-state actors to smoothen the compliance of this initiative,” he said.

Mr. Bagbin said Parliament in its second session will take “further vigorous steps to strengthen the hand of the House to hold government and state institutions accountable for the people for the power, trust, resources and hope reposed in us.”

“The Executive President assisted by cabinet and state …shall be called upon to account for the stewardship of the country to succeed to implement this agenda.”

He also observed that a mechanism will be put in place to ensure MPs who received double salaries refund the monies to the state.

On his part, the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu also asked for a review of the asset declaration law to robe in MMDCE’s and other public officials such as; the Council of State and Special Prosecutor.

According to him, the assets declared per the Constitution of Ghana in Article 205 or 206 “have to be lodged with the Auditor-General.”

“The rationale for this is for the Auditor-General to interrogate assets acquired by public officers. Unfortunately, the construct of the Constitution is such that once they are lodged with the Auditor-General, he himself is disabled from opening the assets so declared, to ensure that people who have acquired assets respond to their tax liabilities. It is the reason why the assets are lodged with the Auditor-General, for whatever reason, our Constitution threads on a different path, Deposit it with the Auditor-General and that is the end of it” he said.

News Politics

E.I 144 is in breach of Act 925 – Minority on declassification of Achimota Forest

The Minority in Parliament has asked President Akufo-Addo to revoke Executive Instrument 144 which seeks to declassify some portions of the Achimota Forest Reserve.

Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu in a statement on Tuesday noted that Executive Instrument 144 is in breach of the provisions of the Land Use and Spatial Planning Act, 2016 (Act 925).

He explained that per the Act, the regulation of land use and spatial planning in Ghana is not conferred on the President.

He contended that the President’s exercise of power for the issuance of the Executive Instrument 144 pursuant to section 19 of the Forest Act, 1927 (CAP. 157) is untenable as “Section 90(1) of Act 925 provides that: Where a provision of this Act is in conflict with any other enactment relating to land use, the provision of this Act shall prevail.”

“The Executive Instrument numbered 144, the Forests (Cessation of Forest Reserve) Instrument, 2022 issued “By Command of the President” and signed by the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, claims to be made in exercise of the power conferred on the President by section 19 of the Forest Act, 1927 (CAP. 157). However, the current law regulating land use and spatial planning in Ghana is the Land Use and Spatial Planning Act, 2016 (Act 925). It is clear that Executive Instrument 144 is in breach of the provisions of Act 925,” portions of the statement read.

For this reason, the Minority wants the President “to do what is right and proper by respecting the provisions in the Land Use and Spatial Planning Act, 2016 (Act 925) and the letter and spirit of the 1992 Constitution of actually holding public lands on behalf of, and in trust for, the people of Ghana.”

“It would be in the President’s own interest and the interest of his Government simply to revoke the E.I. 144 instead of, once again, showing contempt for the laws of Ghana and the interest of the Ghanaian people,” the statement from Minority read.

The Caucus said Section 93(4) of Act 925 which relates to the change or use or re-zoning of a public space requires Parliament’s approval before such action. Thus, they believe once Parliament has not given approval to such action, government cannot declassify the Achimota Forest reserves land.

“Section 93(4) of Act 925 which relates to the change or use or re-zoning of a public space, states unequivocally that: “the change of use or re-zoning of a public space shall be subjected to approval by Parliament.

E.I 144 is in breach of Act 925 - Minority on declassification of Achimota Forest
Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel A. Jinapor

“Therefore, besides the role of the District Spatial Planning Committee, Parliamentary approval is, therefore, a requirement for the change of use or re-zoning of the Achimota Forest Reserve area. Section 96 of Act 925 requires that the re-zoning to be done before Government can convey the land to any person.”

Background

Last week, the President signed an Executive Instrument to declassify the Achimota Forest.

The Instrument gazetted on behalf of President Akufo-Addo by the Lands Minister, Samuel Abdulai Jinapor, stipulated that effective May 1, 2022, the land on which the Forest is located shall cease to be a forest reserve, pursuant to Section 19 of the Forest Act, 1927 (CAP. 157).

The cessation, per that document, was to be effective on May 1, 2022.

However, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, has said the government is not selling the land.

According to him, plans are rather afoot to upgrade the Achimota Forest into a world-class asset.

Addressing the press on Tuesday, May 17, the sector Minister emphasised that widespread reports about the supposed sale of the Forest are false and baseless, as government has no such plans.

“The government intends to enrich the Achimota forest, revamp it and hopefully, in the not too distant future, transform it into the likes of High Park of London and Central Park of New York, where Ghanaians can go and enjoy the beauty of nature and forest reserve as it happens in other parts of the world”.

News

OccupyGhana demands Commission of Inquiry into return of State lands to pre-acquisition owners

Achimota forest. Photo: Edem Srem

OccupyGhana, a Civil Society Organisation (CSO), has demanded a Commission of Inquiry into return of state lands to “pre-acquisition owners.”

The Organisation in a release stated, “we (OccupyGhana) think that, in accordance with Article 278 of the Constitution, the President should be satisfied, or the Council of State should advise, or Parliament should request, that a Commission of Inquiry be appointed. The people of Ghana need to be informed of ALL return of state lands to “pre-acquisition owners” since the Fourth Republican Constitution came into being on 7 January, 1993.”

They added that “there is no better way of doing this than by establishing a Commission of Inquiry appointed under Chapter 23 of the Constitution, with “the powers, rights and privileges of the High Court or a Justice of the High Court at a trial” specified in Article 279.”

OccupyGhana demands Commission of Inquiry into return of State lands to pre-acquisition owners

According to OccupyGhana, although they appreciate and commend the move by the Lands Minister, Samuel Abu Jinapor to set up an “independent audit on the specific issue of the acreage de-gazetted, we do not think that the “independent audit” and its stated remit will suffice.”

This, they explained, is because the issue is “a grave matter of public interest.”

“Evidence abounds on how some of these lands have ended up in the hands of government officials and their privies. It even appears that some of these officials-beneficiaries were involved in the processes leading to the alleged return of lands. In the face of such apparent conflict of interest and conflict of duty as are outlawed by Article 284 of the Constitution, we are not certain that a mere “independent audit” would suffice,” parts of the release dated May 24, 2022 indicated.

Background

Last week, the President signed an Executive Instrument to declassify the Achimota Forest. The Instrument gazetted on behalf of President Akufo-Addo by the Lands Minister, Samuel Abdulai Jinapor, stipulated that effective May 1, 2022, the land on which the Forest is located shall cease to be a forest reserve, pursuant to Section 19 of the Forest Act, 1927 (CAP. 157).

The cessation, per that document, was to be effective on May 1, 2022.

However, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, has said the government is not selling the land.

According to him, plans are rather afoot to upgrade the Achimota Forest into a world-class asset.

Addressing the press on Tuesday, May 17, the sector Minister emphasised that widespread reports about the supposed sale of the Forest are false and baseless, as government has no such plans.

“The government intends to enrich the Achimota forest, revamp it and hopefully in the not too distant future, transform it into the likes of High Park of London and Central Park of New York, where Ghanaians can go and enjoy the beauty of nature and forest reserve as it happens in other parts of the world”.

News

Government will act on improper acquisition of public lands, regardless of how it was procured – Lands Minister

Lands Minster, Samuel Abdulai Jinapor has said government is committed to protecting all public lands from unlawful possession by individuals and state officials.

He says government will act on any improper acquisition of public lands, “regardless of how it was procured, whether now or in the past, and the Achimota Forest lands will not be an exception.”

Mr. Jinapor said this in a statement he issued on Tuesday, May 24 over claims that the late former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Forestry Commission, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, owns lands at the Achimota Forest and Sakumono Ramsar Site.

Owing to those allegations, the Minister says he has tasked the Forestry and Lands Commissions to take immediate actions over the claims.

He says those alleged lands must be treated as invalid, saying they would not be given to the said relatives, even when they are found to have been legally acquired.

“That said, given the totality of the circumstances of the said allegations, I, as Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, have directed the Lands and Forestry Commissions to deem any ownership of lands, both in the Achimota Forest and the Sakumono Ramsar Site by the late Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie as void and are to take the appropriate actions accordingly.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the bequeathing of the aforesaid lands, if established, will not pass any interest/title to the named beneficiaries in the alleged Will. These lands, the subject matter of the alleged Will, shall remain public lands, whether or not it falls within the de-gazetted lands pursuant to E.I. 144,” the Damongo legislator said.

He added that further checks at the Lands and the Forestry Commissions show no record of ownership of lands at the Achimota Forest or the Sakumono Ramsar Site by the late Sir John.

According to him, preliminary investigations have revealed the alleged Will of Sir John is a subject matter of litigation in the courts.

CSOs protest declassification of Achimota Forest

Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), including the OccupyGhana, have demanded the suspension of the operation of Executive Instrument (E.I.) 144 by government.

In a letter dated May 23, 2022, the CSO said, “We write to demand that you revoke or suspend the operation of the Forests (Cessation of Forest Reserve) Instrument, 2022 (EI 144) and the Forests (Achimota Firewood Plantation Forest Reserve) (Amendment) Instrument, 2022 (EI 154) forthwith.”

OccupyGhana added that “Instead, we demand a full public inquiry under Chapter 23 of the Constitution into the matter of the Achimota Forest Reserve.”

Background

Last week, the President signed an Executive Instrument to declassify the Achimota Forest.

The Instrument gazetted on behalf of President Akufo-Addo by the Lands Minister, Samuel Abdulai Jinapor, stipulated that effective May 1, 2022, the land on which the Forest is located shall cease to be a forest reserve, pursuant to Section 19 of the Forest Act, 1927 (CAP. 157).

The cessation, per that document, was to be effective on May 1, 2022.

However, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, has said the government is not selling the land.

According to him, plans are rather afoot to upgrade the Achimota Forest into a world-class asset.

Addressing the press on Tuesday, May 17, the sector Minister emphasised that widespread reports about the supposed sale of the Forest are false and baseless, as government has no such plans.

“The government intends to enrich the Achimota forest, revamp it and hopefully, in the not too distant future, transform it into the likes of High Park of London and Central Park of New York, where Ghanaians can go and enjoy the beauty of nature and forest reserve as it happens in other parts of the world”.

News

OccupyGhana calls for suspension of reclassification of Achimota Forest Reserve

OccupyGhana, a Civil Society Organisation (CSO), has demanded the suspension of the operation of Executive Instrument (E.I) 144 by government.

In a letter dated May 23, 2022, the CSO said, “We write to demand that you revoke or suspend the operation of the Forests (Cessation of Forest Reserve) Instrument, 2022 (EI 144) and the Forests (Achimota Firewood Plantation Forest Reserve) (Amendment) Instrument, 2022 (EI 154) forthwith.”

OccupyGhana added that, “Instead, we demand a full public inquiry under Chapter 23 of the Constitution into the matter of the Achimota Forest Reserve.”

OccupyGhana calls for suspension of reclassification of Achimota Forest Reserve
Achimota forest. Photo: Edem Srem

“The purpose of the inquiries would be to reverse any illegal acts perpetrated, and improper gains made, by government officials under the guise of returning lands,” the CSO explained.

OccupyGhana also referenced a letter addressed to the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Mr. Samuel Abu Jinapor dated May 18, 2022 in which it expressed, “vehement disagreement with the alleged plans to return substantial portions of the Achimota Forest Reserve to its former owners.”

OccupyGhana alleged that since sending that letter to the Minister, “we have had further cause to believe that this state of affairs is worse and much wider than is apparent. We are also concerned that there might have been serious instances of conflict of interest and conflict of duty involving government officials and other government actors, concerning those lands.”

OccupyGhana calls for suspension of reclassification of Achimota Forest Reserve

The group also called on government to institute an inquiry into all alleged return of government lands to former owners that have occurred under the Fourth Republic.

It would be recalled that last week, government issued an Executive Instrument to declassify the Achimota Forest. The Instrument gazetted on behalf of President Akufo-Addo by the Lands Minister, Samuel Abdulai Jinapor, stipulated that effective May 1, 2022, the land on which the Forest is located shall cease to be a forest reserve, pursuant to Section 19 of the Forest Act, 1927 (CAP. 157).

The cessation, per that document, was to be effective on May 1, 2022.

However, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, has said the government is not selling the land.

According to him, plans are rather afoot to upgrade the Achimota Forest into a world-class asset.

Addressing the press on Tuesday, May 17, the sector Minister emphasised that widespread reports about the supposed sale of the Forest are false and baseless, as government has no such plans.

“The government intends to enrich the Achimota forest, revamp it and hopefully in the not too distant future, transform it into the likes of High Park of London and Central Park of New York, where Ghanaians can go and enjoy the beauty of nature and forest reserve as it happens in other parts of the world”.

News

OccupyGhana calls for suspension of reclassification of Achimota Forest Reserve

OccupyGhana, a Civil Society Organisation (CSO), has demanded the suspension of the operation of Executive Instrument (E.I) 144 by government.

In a letter dated May 23, 2022, the CSO said, “We write to demand that you revoke or suspend the operation of the Forests (Cessation of Forest Reserve) Instrument, 2022 (EI 144) and the Forests (Achimota Firewood Plantation Forest Reserve) (Amendment) Instrument, 2022 (EI 154) forthwith.”

OccupyGhana added that, “Instead, we demand a full public inquiry under Chapter 23 of the Constitution into the matter of the Achimota Forest Reserve.”

OccupyGhana calls for suspension of reclassification of Achimota Forest Reserve
Achimota forest. Photo: Edem Srem

“The purpose of the inquiries would be to reverse any illegal acts perpetrated, and improper gains made, by government officials under the guise of returning lands,” the CSO explained.

OccupyGhana also referenced a letter addressed to the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Mr. Samuel Abu Jinapor dated May 18, 2022 in which it expressed, “vehement disagreement with the alleged plans to return substantial portions of the Achimota Forest Reserve to its former owners.”

OccupyGhana alleged that since sending that letter to the Minister, “we have had further cause to believe that this state of affairs is worse and much wider than is apparent. We are also concerned that there might have been serious instances of conflict of interest and conflict of duty involving government officials and other government actors, concerning those lands.”

OccupyGhana calls for suspension of reclassification of Achimota Forest Reserve

The group also called on government to institute an inquiry into all alleged return of government lands to former owners that have occurred under the Fourth Republic.

It would be recalled that last week, government issued an Executive Instrument to declassify the Achimota Forest. The Instrument gazetted on behalf of President Akufo-Addo by the Lands Minister, Samuel Abdulai Jinapor, stipulated that effective May 1, 2022, the land on which the Forest is located shall cease to be a forest reserve, pursuant to Section 19 of the Forest Act, 1927 (CAP. 157).

The cessation, per that document, was to be effective on May 1, 2022.

However, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, has said the government is not selling the land.

According to him, plans are rather afoot to upgrade the Achimota Forest into a world-class asset.

Addressing the press on Tuesday, May 17, the sector Minister emphasised that widespread reports about the supposed sale of the Forest are false and baseless, as government has no such plans.

“The government intends to enrich the Achimota forest, revamp it and hopefully in the not too distant future, transform it into the likes of High Park of London and Central Park of New York, where Ghanaians can go and enjoy the beauty of nature and forest reserve as it happens in other parts of the world”.

News

58th Anniversary: FG’s investments in air security not in vain – President Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has lauded the Nigerian Air Force for living up to its constitutional responsibilities of securing the nation.

The President said the investments of the government in the airforce is well justified.

He spoke on Monday in Kano, at the ceremonial parade to commemorate its 58th anniversary, the President said the Air Force had transformed into a formidable entity, ready to confront immediate and future challenges.

“It gives me great pleasure to be here to felicitate with you on the Nigerian Air Force 58th anniversary celebration. This is particularly because the Nigerian Air Force has over these 58 years transformed into a formidable and resilient air force that is positioned to effectively tackle both contemporary and future security challenges.

“This adaptability has thus enabled the Service to respond effectively to our dynamic national security challenges. The Nigerian Air Force has been able to meet its constitutional responsibilities thereby justifying the Government’s enormous support in the last 7 years. I, therefore, congratulate the Chief of the Air Staff, officers and airmen/airwomen as well as civilian staff of the Nigerian Air Force on this occasion of the 58th Anniversary.

President Buhari noted that on the assumption of office in 2015, he “promised to equip and re-professionalize the armed forces to perform their constitutional responsibilities more effectively,” adding that “we have therefore demonstrated the required political will and leadership as well as committed resources towards capacity building and re-professionalizing of the armed forces.”

According to him, “today, I can say confidentially that the armed forces have indeed witnessed tremendous improvement in the past seven years. In particular, the provision of modern equipment and personnel motivation through enhanced welfare are also ongoing.

“The President noted that “the provision of modern equipment and personnel motivation” like the Super Tucanos and the Augusta helicopter gunships among others, had greatly helped turn the tide in the fight against terrorists and other non-state actors, and sustained the Nigerian Air Force. He assured that the administration will continue to provide more platforms such as the Beechcraft, some modern helicopter gunships and UAV for the Nigerian Air Force to enable it to man our airspace more effectively. Rest assured that as a Government, we are willing to do even more to ensure the provision of the requisite support and encouragement to overcome various security challenges.”

President Buhari commended the Minister of Defence, the Chief of the Defence Staff, the Service Chiefs as well as the leadership of the security agencies for doing their jobs well, charging them to “remain committed, steadfast and resolute as we forge ahead to achieving a secure, peaceful and more prosperous Nigeria.”

The Commander-in-Chief particularly lauded the Chief of the Air Staff, officers, airmen, airwomen and civilian staff of the air force for the good work they are doing to support the Government’s defence and security policies as well as the high level of discipline, loyalty to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and support of democratic values.

News

Deborah: CAN demands security for Kukah, others

In the face of the recent killing of Deborah Samuel, a student of College of Education, Sokoto for alleged blasphemy, the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, has called on government to beef up security around Rev. Fr. Mathew Hassan Kukah, Catholic Bishop of Sokoto and other Nigerians, to avoid further break down of law and order in the country.

The charge was given on Sunday in Kaduna, by Rev Chris Annge, Kaduna State Vice-Chairman of CAN.

He spoke on the sideline of peaceful protest organised by CAN, at Evangelical Church Winning All, ECWA, Sabon Tasha. Hundreds of Christians participated in the protest.

“When we learnt that a Catholic church was attacked in Sokoto, It’s very clear that that attack was on Bishop Matthew Kukah because he’s the one who’s like a voice to the voiceless in this country. He’s speaking truth to power every day. So that attack was directly or indirectly on him.

“We are calling on the Nigeria government to charge those in charge of carrying guns or agencies responsible for taking care of us, to be up and doing and protect the life of Kukah and every believer as well as every Nigerian from this menace. It’s unacceptable.”

Annge noted that Nigeria is a secular state with laws that guarantee freedom of association for all citizens and reiterated the need for religious tolerance. He emphasized the need for prayers.

“We are people of God and we are to thank God for what recently happened in Sokoto, Deborah Samuel, who was gruesomely killed by Islamic extremist on account of blasphemy.

“So we are here to first pray for the survival of those who are alive and also let the world know that it’s not the best way to go by killing because we are living in a country where there are rules as in the constitution. I think as patriotic Nigerians, we have what is guiding us that has to be respected,” he stated.

News

Fundamentalists now use blasphemy as excuse to kill Christians – CAN

 

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Kaduna State chapter has expressed concern that allegations of blasphemy have now become the new excuse by fundamentalists in Northern Nigeria to kill the remnant that bandits and terrorists have not yet killed.

 

Rev. John Joseph Hayab, state CAN chairman, while reacting to alleged blasphemy against a Christian in Bauchi State in a statement, said, “Allegations of blasphemy have now become the new excuse by fundamentalists in Northern Nigeria to kill the remnant that bandits and Terrorists have not yet killed.”

 

He asked, “How can you justify the period of what happened in Sokoto, the allegation in Borno, the fake allegation on Babachir Lawal by one northern actor who we have on record how he made blasphemous remarks about Jesus Christ but quickly went and brought it down on the internet to cover himself before coming out to falsely accused Babachir Lawal the former SGF and today we are seeing another carnage in Bauchi under the excuse of blasphemy.”

 

The CAN state chairman stated that Christians now know and have evidence of how some of these allegations of blasphemy are false and just for blackmail or settling scores with passive enemies or well-mannered young girls who have refused sexual advances by the opposite sex from another religion.

 

“We are also aware of how fanatics have in the past raised lies in the name of blasphemy,” he asserted.

 

He added that CAN wonder if the recent sermons they are getting from some Islamic clerics on what the Holy Quran says about what should be done if anyone is accused of blasphemy is unpopular amongst followers?

 

Rev. John Joseph Hayab said that the challenge now is for Government authorities and security agencies to act fast to address this abuse of the constitution before it leads to a more serious conflict that can not be handled.

 

He explained that the Nigeria Christians especially those of Northern extraction have for ages exhibited tolerance despite many provocations and lack of reciprocation of their love and friendship, regretting that these new tactics for killing their people from any and every accusation of blasphemy are unacceptable to CAN and all Christian faithful.

 

“We will not accept this brutal way of murder and inhuman treatment of our followers to continue,” he said..

 

He said that government and security agencies should come out to enforce the law on every murderer hiding under religion.

 

Rev. Hayab appealed to Christian leaders and parents to guide their children to resist any ungodly provocation that would make them says things that bloodthirsty fundamentalist can easily use to kill them.

 

CAN, therefore, appealed to religious leaders from both religious divides to intensify teachings about the evil of taking the laws into one hand and killing another person for whatever reason.

 

He advised that alleged offenders should be reported to security agencies or taken to any competent court of law for judiciary pronouncement.

 

“Nigeria is not a banana republic but a nation we believe should be governed by the rule of law,” he opined.

News Politics

Over 30 NPP regional executive aspirants in Ashanti Region take turns before vetting committee

Vetting of aspirants for the regional executive portfolios of the ruling New Patriotic Party has begun in the Ashanti region.

Twenty-one individuals aspiring for the 10 different positions, including chairmanship, took turns before the vetting committee on the first day. 

Delegates for the New Patriotic Party are expected to hit the polls to elect new regional executives for the party.

Pursuant to the party’s constitution, all aspirants for the various regional portfolios took turns before the vetting committee to make their statements.

The Chairmanship position has been the most talked about slot in the party.

Five persons are vying for the Chairmanship portfolio including the incumbent Bernard Antwi Bosiako, popularly known as Chairman Wontumi, and a strongest contender Adeneho Kwaku Appiah, otherwise known as Coka.

Others include; Asare Bediako, Owusu Oduomi and Oheneba Adum-Bawuah.

The Ashanti region as the stronghold of the ruling NPP has suffered delays in execution of many developmental projects, including roads and hospitals.   

A number of party delegates blame the incumbent regional Chairman for the retrogressing development in the region.

With several calls for change in the Chairmanship position, some aspirants who spoke to LuvNews are optimistic of their chances to clinch the position.  

Former Member of Parliament for the Ejisu constituency, Kwabena Owusu Aduomi, is poised to restore development in the region.

“We need to uplift the development in the region. People don’t want to vote because they need good roads in their area,” he said.  

Six times constituency chairman for Asokwa, Asare Bediako, is preaching unity for the party.

“Togetherness is the keyword for the party. A lot of our members are disappointed at the party, we need to bring them together and give them hope. If I am weak I wouldn’t have been constituency for six times for Asokwa,” he said.

As cub but with a sharp teeth, Oheneba Adum-Bawuah touts his performance in the party.

“I showcased everything. People can go in with millions. It’s not going to the money that would decide this election, but your capabilities,” he said.

However, spokesperson for the incumbent regional Chairman is assertive Bernard Antwi Bosiako will retain his seat for the third time.

“We’ve gone through all the 47 constituencies and looking at their demeanour and contribution, everyone is yearning and has held the party for two consecutive wins has to be maintained,” he said.

The regional party election is slated to take place by the end of the month.

News

GPHA congratulates Director-General on his election as IAPH Vice President, African region

The Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) has sent a congratulatory message to its Director General, Michael Achagwe Luguje on his election as the Vice-President (Africa Region) of the International Association of Ports and Harbours (IAPH).

IAPH is the global alliance of Ports and Harbours, with membership of over 160 Ports and 120 port-related businesses from 87 countries.

GPHA is member of the IAPH, and it is significant that its Director General now holds the position of Vice-President for Africa Region.

Polling 13 votes out of 14, Mr. Luguje, in line with Article 21 of IAPH Constitution, assumes the responsibility until next annual general meeting at the IAPH World Ports Conference in 2023.

From the humble beginnings in Pong-Tamale L.A. Primary School, Tamale and Navrongo Secondary Schools, through the University of Ghana, the World Maritime University and others, Mr. Luguje, has risen through the ranks from the office of the Special Assistant to the then Director General of GPHA to become the West and Central African Regional Coordinator of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), United Nation’s specialised regulatory agency for global shipping and maritime transport.

GPHA congratulates Director-General on his election as IAPH Vice President, African region

He also served as one of the longest Secretary-Generals of the Ports Management Association of West and Central Africa (PMAWCA).

In 2017, Mr. Luguje mobilized member ports from the Africa region towards the successful election of Ms. Hadiza Bala-Usman, Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority, to the office of Vice-President, Africa Region of the IAPH.

Further to the congratulatory note from the Board, Management and Staff of GPHA, the Chiefs, Elders and Good People of the Kasena-Nankana Traditional Areas, and the Savelugu-Nanton District have expressed pride and joy for this noble son of theirs.

News Politics

Some PDP officials undermining Peter Obi’s political base in Anambra – Doyin okupe

 

Doyin Okupe, a former aide to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, says some officials of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are undermining the political base of Peter Obi in Anambra state.

 

Okupe made the allegation in a series of tweets on Wednesday.

 

He said some officials of the party do not treat Obi respectfully as the party’s leader in Anambra.

 

Okupe asked leaders of the opposition party to intervene in the matter.

 

 “It is a matter for regret that despite Peter Obi’s gentlemanly civil disposition & unwavering commitment to PDP as a party, some officials in the national secretariat of the party don’t accord him the respect due to him as the leader of the party in Anambra,” he wrote.

 

“Recently a free and fair national delegates elections were conducted in the state and the results verified by INEC officials.

 

“Surprisingly some people within the state are trying to collude with certain elements within the National secretariat to manipulate these results.

 

 “This conspiracy is meant to undermine the political base of Peter Obi in Anambra state.

 

“We plead earnestly with the respected leadership of this great party to intervene and ensure that things are done properly and rightly and in accordance with our party’s constitution.”

News

Deborah: Preach openly against jungle justice, Christian group urges Islamic leaders

 

Islamic leaders have been called to conduct open preaching in Mosques and mass media for their followers to educate them on the negative effects of taking laws into their hands whenever they feel aggrieved on alleged infringement on their religion.

The Christian Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria gave the advice in a statement made available to newsmen in Ilorin on Wednesday.

Reacting to the gruesome murder of Deborah Yakubu, a 200-level Home Economics Student of Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto State, who was stoned to death and burnt for alleged blasphemy to Prophet Mohammad, the National Chairman of the CPFN, Pastor E.S Awojide, condemned the killing and described the act as inhuman and illegal.

The CPFN in the statement signed by Elder Segun Bamidele, its National Publicity Secretary ,made available to newsmen in Ilorin on Wednesday, said that the Sultan of Sokoto, who is the leader of all Muslims in Nigeria, and other Islamic leaders should openly preach to all Muslims never to attack or kill any person for whatever reason, but to report any allegation of infringement of any law or custom to the Police for investigation, and never to take laws into their hands.

The CFPN advised the Sultan to do this openly in the mosque and on national television to carry weight and convinced Muslims that killing others for blasphemy was not the appropriate thing to do.

He said, although the Sultan had issued a statement on the killing of the student, it was not enough for the Sultan of Sokoto and the head of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs in Nigeria to issue only a press statement.

“The Sultan should let his followers know the consequences of violation of all human rights guaranteed under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” Awojide said.

 

He condemned the heinous incident in strongest terms, and called for the investigation, arrest, and prosecution of all culprits, and not just the two already arrested.

According to the CPFN National Chairman, the laws of the land does not allow anyone to take the life of another fellow human being under any pretence.

The CPFN commiserated with the family of Deborah Yakubu and all Christians in Sokoto State and Nigeria at large, urging them to maintain calm and orderliness in face of the challenge.

The national chairman, therefore, called on Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State and the President Muhammadu Buhari, to, as a matter of urgency, bring the people behind the gruesome murder of Deborah Yakubu to book.

This, he said, was to ensure that justice was served to serve as a deterrent to other criminal elements using religion as a cover.

News Politics

2023 presidency: Why we changed date for presidential primary, others – APC

 

The ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, has provided reasons for its decision to adjust its presidential primary election timetable.

 

The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Felix Morka, on Wednesday, announced that the presidential primary of the party has been rescheduled to hold on May 29th, 2022.

 

Recall that the primary was earlier scheduled to hold between May 30 and June 1, 2022.

 

Morka disclosed this while addressing journalists on Wednesday after the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party, but did not go into details as to why the decision was made.

 

However, appearing on Channels Television on Wednesday evening, the party’s mouthpiece explained, among other reasons, that the adjustment was made to enable the party’s committee review and ensure that all of the steps that it is taking complied with both its constitution and also the Electoral Act.

 

According to Morka, “The APC, like other political parties, are working with a very tight time frame which was rolled out by INEC. And given the volume of work we have to do, we feel that pressure.

 

“So, we try to meet that deadline and then again without compromising the integrity of the work we’re doing. So, we’ve adjusted the time to enable us to review and ensure that all of the steps that we’re taking comply with both our constitution and also the Electoral Act.

 

“So, it’s time we’ve decided to afford to ensure that not only we’re just working to comply, but to comply properly.

 

“We’re buying a little time to ensure that if there were glitches, we’re going to fix them before we have to push information to INEC. Because if they move to INEC, you can’t recall them.”

News

Release capitation grant arrears for basic schools – Education Coalition urges government

The Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition (GNECC) has urged the government to release all outstanding arrears of the capitation grant for basic schools across the country.

The fund was designed to finance the purchase of teaching and learning materials and in some cases pay for small repairs, administration and examination expenses.

Although the grant per child was revised from GH¢4.5 to GH¢10, government still has an outstanding amount of GH¢315 million to clear.

In an interaction with JoyNews, the Coordinator of the GNECC, Bernice Mpere-Gyekye, stated that the disbursement of the funds has delayed.

She added that some further deductions are made from the meager amount each pupil is entitled to, something she noted is beginning to affect the quality of education.

Release capitation grant arrears for basic schools – Education Coalition urges government
Coordinator of the Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition, Bernice Mpere-Gyekye

“For the GH¢10, there are some deductions at the regional and district levels, so what ends up coming to the schools is GH¢7.50 for each child and that one is supposed to be divided within three terms. It means that every term, a child is getting GH¢2.50.

“But it got to a time that when they release the first term tranche, the rest of the term doesn’t come. So, it again sent parents to the old situation where they have to provide everything for their children. The Policy is not really working as it’s supposed to be,” she said.

“We are recommending that the Ministry of Education and other stakeholders should ensure the sustenance and efficiency and effective implementation of the Capitation Grant. The government should release the money on termly basis so that the teachers and the heads of the schools can really use the money for the intended purpose.”

At the Kokomlemle Basic 1 and 2 Schools in Accra, there are visible signs that the authorities are having difficulties carrying out simple repairs.

According to the National Programmes Manager of GNECC, Festus Amartey, due to the unavailability of the funds, basic schools like Kokomlemle Basic are having difficulties.

Release capitation grant arrears for basic schools – Education Coalition urges government
Festus Amartey, National Programmes Manager of the GNECC

“Education is supposed to be made free for every child, and apart from that, it is supposed to be of quality. The Capitation Grant has come in to relieve parents of the burden of paying school fees.

“Frankly speaking, access, now, is okay but then the quality is an issue. The schools cannot be run without resources and the Capitation Grant is meant to support the managers of the schools to be able to provide the kind of education we expect them to provide for our children,” he said.

Article 25 of the 1992 Constitution states expressly that the State must make provisions for a free education at the basic level under the Free and Compulsory Universal Basic Education (FCUBE) programme.

Under this programme, every child of school-going age in the country should have access to basic education without any financial, parental, material or any form of hindrance.

In furtherance of this constitutional provision, the Capitation Grant was introduced in the 2003/2004 academic year.

Release capitation grant arrears for basic schools – Education Coalition urges government
Although the grant per child was revised from ¢4.5 to ¢10, government still has an outstanding amount of some ¢315 million to clear.

The fund was designed to finance the purchase of teaching and learning materials so as to improve the quality of learning. It could also be used to fund small repairs, administration and examination expenses.

During the 2017/2018 academic year, the grant was revised from GH¢4.50 to ¢10 for each child per year.

However, the disbursement of the funds has not been regular and this is crippling academic success at the basic level.

News

Release capitation grant arrears for basic schools – Education Coalition urges government

The Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition (GNECC) has urged the government to release all outstanding arrears of the capitation grant for basic schools across the country.

The fund was designed to finance the purchase of teaching and learning materials and in some cases pay for small repairs, administration and examination expenses.

Although the grant per child was revised from GH¢4.5 to GH¢10, government still has an outstanding amount of GH¢315 million to clear.

In an interaction with JoyNews, the Coordinator of the GNECC, Bernice Mpere-Gyekye, stated that the disbursement of the funds has delayed.

She added that some further deductions are made from the meager amount each pupil is entitled to, something she noted is beginning to affect the quality of education.

Release capitation grant arrears for basic schools – Education Coalition urges government
Coordinator of the Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition, Bernice Mpere-Gyekye

“For the GH¢10, there are some deductions at the regional and district levels, so what ends up coming to the schools is GH¢7.50 for each child and that one is supposed to be divided within three terms. It means that every term, a child is getting GH¢2.50.

“But it got to a time that when they release the first term tranche, the rest of the term doesn’t come. So, it again sent parents to the old situation where they have to provide everything for their children. The Policy is not really working as it’s supposed to be,” she said.

“We are recommending that the Ministry of Education and other stakeholders should ensure the sustenance and efficiency and effective implementation of the Capitation Grant. The government should release the money on termly basis so that the teachers and the heads of the schools can really use the money for the intended purpose.”

At the Kokomlemle Basic 1 and 2 Schools in Accra, there are visible signs that the authorities are having difficulties carrying out simple repairs.

According to the National Programmes Manager of GNECC, Festus Amartey, due to the unavailability of the funds, basic schools like Kokomlemle Basic are having difficulties.

Release capitation grant arrears for basic schools – Education Coalition urges government
Festus Amartey, National Programmes Manager of the GNECC

“Education is supposed to be made free for every child, and apart from that, it is supposed to be of quality. The Capitation Grant has come in to relieve parents of the burden of paying school fees.

“Frankly speaking, access, now, is okay but then the quality is an issue. The schools cannot be run without resources and the Capitation Grant is meant to support the managers of the schools to be able to provide the kind of education we expect them to provide for our children,” he said.

Article 25 of the 1992 Constitution states expressly that the State must make provisions for a free education at the basic level under the Free and Compulsory Universal Basic Education (FCUBE) programme.

Under this programme, every child of school-going age in the country should have access to basic education without any financial, parental, material or any form of hindrance.

In furtherance of this constitutional provision, the Capitation Grant was introduced in the 2003/2004 academic year.

Release capitation grant arrears for basic schools – Education Coalition urges government
Although the grant per child was revised from ¢4.5 to ¢10, government still has an outstanding amount of some ¢315 million to clear.

The fund was designed to finance the purchase of teaching and learning materials so as to improve the quality of learning. It could also be used to fund small repairs, administration and examination expenses.

During the 2017/2018 academic year, the grant was revised from GH¢4.50 to ¢10 for each child per year.

However, the disbursement of the funds has not been regular and this is crippling academic success at the basic level.

News Politics

High Court sets June 13 to begin trial against Gyakye Quayson

The High Court has set June 13, to commence the criminal trial against the embattled Assin North MP James Gyakye Quayson.

The charges against James Gyakye Quayson include Deceit of a public officer, forgery of passport or travel certificate, knowingly making a false statutory declaration in contravention of the statutory declarations, perjury, and false declaration for office.

The state in the writ argues that the accused deliberately committed these offences to aid him contest the 2020 Parliamentary polls.

However, his legal team disagrees with portions of the charge sheet. As a result, they want some portions struck out.

The apex court, on Wednesday, April 13, in a 5-2 majority ruling, stopped Mr Quayson from holding himself out as Assin North MP.

According to the apex court, the order is to protect the sanctity of the constitution.

This is until the substantive case was determined against him at the Supreme Court.

“The application succeeds. The MP is restrained from holding himself as MP for Assin North and restrained from attending Parliament to conduct business on behalf of the people of Assin North.

“The restriction remains until the final determination of the substantive matter. We direct that the case hearing be expedited,“ the Court ruled.

However, the embattled MP has filed for a review.

In his review application, he stated that the ruling was a patent and fundamental error of the law and a breach of portions of Ghana’s constitution.

“The majority decision was in patent and fundamental error in granting an order of interlocutory injunction pending the determination of the suit when what the Applicant was seeking by this application was for the execution of decisions in the courts below and this error occasioned a gross miscarriage of justice against the first defendant/respondent,” he said in his review application.

But the hearing of the review has been adjourned for a second time.

News Politics

Unavailable receipts for forms, imposition… APC gives conditions for disqualification of aspirants

 

The All Progressives Congress (APC) says it will disqualify any aspirant that cannot provide proof of payment for nomination and expression of interest forms.

 

Sulaiman Argungu, the party’s national organising secretary, said this on Tuesday during the inauguration of screening committees for state houses of assembly aspirants and party delegates.

 

Argungu, who advised the screening committees to ensure that aspirants’ sponsors are properly identified, urged the panel to ensure that its activities are guided by section 84(3) of the Electoral Act 2022.

 

The aforementioned section reads: “A political party shall not impose nomination qualification or disqualification criteria, measures, or conditions on any aspirant or candidate for any election in its candidates by parties constitution, guidelines, or rules for nomination or candidates for elections, except as prescribed under sections 65, 66, 106, 107, 131, 137, 177 and 187 of the Constitution.”

 

Argungu listed the committees’ roles to include: scrutinising aspirant’s minimum educational requirements, their sponsors, and receipts for expression of interest and nomination forms.

 

“It is the proof of payment receipt that qualifies each aspirant to contest. You should also check their sponsors, and if anybody goes against section 84(3) of the electoral act as amended, he stands disqualified,” NAN quoted him as saying.

 

“All these and more are in the guidelines that will be given to each group, and also, we will provide each group with aspirants’ assessment verification forms.

 

 “You will endeavour to follow diligently to ensure you do justice to each aspirant who purchased forms and submitted same.”

 

He added that names of duly screened aspirants should, thereafter, be submitted to the party’s national secretariat for issuance of certificates that would qualify them to participate in the primaries.

News

Achimota Forest redevelopment: Government may be disregarding Article 20 of 1992 Constitution – Alhassan Suhuyini

A member of the Lands and Natural Resources Committee in Parliament, Alhassan Suhuyini has said that what government has done in respect of the Achimota Forest reserve raises questions of non-adherence to Article 20 of the 1992 Constitution.

Quoting clauses 5 and 6 of Article 20, Mr. Suhuyini said the Article stipulates that “when land is acquired for a specific purpose when government decides to change or abandon the reason for which the land was acquired, it automatically reverts to the owners of the land.”

This comes after an eight-paged document was widely circulated on social media, which purported to mean that the classification of the Achimota Forest Reserve has been lifted to pave way for a possible redevelopment for other purposes.

The Instrument gazetted on behalf of President Akufo-Addo by the Lands Minister Samuel Abdulai Jinapor stipulated that effective May 1, 2022, the land on which the Forest is located shall cease to be a forest reserve, pursuant to Section 19 of the Forest Act, 1927 (CAP. 157).

The cessation, per that document, was to be effective on May 1, 2022.

Reacting to this, Mr. Suhuyini indicated that the Minority Group “are not in favour of whatever decision government may have regarding the decision to abandon the Forest as a National Reserve.”

Speaking in an interview on Joy FM’s NewsNight, the Tamale North MP explained that the reserve serves ecological purposes, therefore the Minority is “not convinced that it has outlived its usefulness.”

“We [Members of the Committee] are studying this move, it smacks on the surface, of an intention by government just to encroach and perhaps re-demarcate and sell to cronies like many other lands have suffered in the Greater Accra Region, especially,” he accused government.

He said that the Members of the Lands Committee “will hasten slowly and look at the laws that govern the use of this reserve and at the appropriate time, you will hear from us as Members of the Committee.”

He further said that for the time being, the members are primarily examining the problem and talking with other land specialists.

Meanwhile, the Lands and Natural Resources Minister, Samuel Abdulai Jinapor, has stated that the Achimota Forest Reserve has not been sold.

He says rumours suggesting the government has gazetted an Executive Instrument (E.I.) to approve the redesignation, sale or development of the land are fake and must be utterly disregarded.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Mr. Jinapor wrote that the “Achimota Forest has not and will not be sold.”