Michael Amoo-Gyasi (left), addressing the Media with Dr Amponmah Benefo, former National President of the Research Staff Association of the CSIR - Photo: 2024

Ghana’s Prestigious Science Center Protests Loss of Property

By Lisa Vives, Global Information Network

NEW YORK | 25 February 2024 (IDN) — The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is Ghana’s foremost national science and technology institution, mandated to carry out scientific and technological research for national development.

So, the discovery that their 400 acres of land reserved for animal research and tree planting had been secretly transferred to housing developers was an unpleasant shock.

It was the second land encroachment in the Greater Accra region that had formerly been used for various projects and as a vital resource for the CSIR.

Last week, at a press conference, Michael Ammoo Gyasi, chair of the CSIR Central Committee of Local Unions, expressed “shock and dismay that a private developer had been clearing the research property—all 400 plus acres of land – in Pokuase and Amasaman for private use.”

Earlier, some 6,000 acres of state land were encroached up at Adenta Katamanso in Accra, the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Kweku Asomah-Cheremeh, confirmed..

According to Gyasi, the Lands Commission cut back their 400-acre property to 184 acres. Then it was reduced again to 100 acres in a sod-cutting ceremony attended by Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo, confirmed by the President of Ghana.

After CSIR agreed to sign for 100 acres, they discovered a private developer was clearing the entire parcel, disregarding the terms of an initial agreement. In the process, ongoing scientific experiments and valuable CSIR research materials, which had taken decades to develop, were destroyed with impunity.

These activities, he said, posed a significant threat to the vital research and development activities carried out by the institution.

Land expropriations

CSIR has been leading the way in developing different crop varieties, preserving Ghana’s native genetic resources, soil conservation, food processing, forest and water resource management, as well as advancements in building technology, agriculture, aquaculture and food security.

The crisis of land expropriations was recently addressed in a stern letter to President Nana Akufo-Addo. “Mr. President,” wrote Dr. Benjamin Hussey, a columnist with GhanaWeb. “There is a land stealing and document forgery syndicate operating from the Lands Commission which is working with Nigerian criminal gangs and the Ghana Police Service to steal land and forge documents belonging to chiefs and genuine landowners.”

CSIR has reportedly issued a three-week ultimatum to the government and individuals who have encroached on its 400-acre Pokuase–Amasaman lands, ordering them to vacate the premises immediately.

Failure to comply with this ultimatum, they said, would result in the CSIR taking legal action to reclaim its land, including the possibility of staging a peaceful demonstration to draw attention to the issue. Meanwhile, men in military fatigues began the demolition of houses on the science center property to the dismay of the working-class families who moved there.

About six million of the 33 million Ghanaians reportedly need affordable housing that Accra has been unable to build. [IDN-InDepthNews]

Photo: Michael Amoo-Gyasi (left), addressing the Media with Dr Amponmah Benefo, former National President of the Research Staff Association of the CSIR

IDN is the flagship agency of the Non-profit International Press Syndicate.

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