The Ghana Police Service and the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) have denied that they use land guards to retake and safeguard their territories.
Their retraction follows a purported assertion by the lands ministry’s chief director before a parliamentary committee hearing that both security groups use land guards to defend their property.
“The police service has not on any occasion engaged the services of land guards to reclaim or protect its lands,” the police said in a statement on Monday (17 July).
“In fact, on the contrary, the service has in recent times intensified its anti-land guard operations in communities affected by the activities of these land guards and this renewed effort will not stop until perpetrators of such illegal activities are brought to justice.
“We wish to assure the public that the police service working in partnership with other security agencies, remains committed to upholding the rule of law and ensuring public safety and security at all times; and we will continue to count on the support of the good people of Ghana in this regard,” the statement added.
AN MP’S CLAIM
Opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP for Tamale North, Alhassan Suhuyini, alleged on Monday that the government has confessed to entering into a contract with a land guard.
According to him, the chief director of the ministry Prof Patrick Agbesinyale at a Parliamentary Committee meeting on 10 July 2023 revealed before the committee that: “I think the idea was that anytime the government apparatus; the police, military among others are seen going out there to claim lands, you know the hullabaloo and backlash the government receives. So, what they do is that you would set up somebody like this and government would literally be hiding behind it so he can reclaim government lands.”
“So, I remember that during the claiming process, three people lost their lives. There were gunshots; exchange of fire, and three people lost their lives there. Except that Gyato has a section of the media on site who would cover always – he is a whole set-up,” Agbesinyale said.
Reacting to the claim, GAF also described it as false.
“It is unimaginable that GAF cannot protect its own lands but rather indulge in an illegality by relying on the services of land guards, a proscribed activity,” the statement released and signed by Brigadier-General Emmanuel Aggrey-Quashie, the director general of public relations said.
“GAF deems it as regrettable that news reports emanated from unsubstantiated allegations made by the Chief Director of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, Prof Patrick Agbesinyale at a Parliamentary Committee meeting on 10 July 2023.
“We wish to stress that this allegation which was repeated by Hon Alhassan Suhuyini, Member of Parliament for Tamale North to the media is false and should be ignored,” the statement added.
The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources has also refuted such claims.
“The ministry would like to set the records straight that Government and for that matter the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources does not contract the services of land guards in its operations.”
“However, the Ministry through its agency, Lands Commission legally engaged the services of Aynok Holding Limited, a registered limited liability company to assist in reclaiming encroached government lands. This engagement has been in effect since 2012,” the statement said.