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Police arrest chief for destroying 33,000 rubber trees

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Police arrest chief for destroying 33,000 rubber trees

An Odikro from Gyabenkrom and two others have been detained for damaging over 33,000 mature rubber trees on a plantation owned by the Ghana Rubber Estate Limited (GREL) in the Ahanta West Municipality of the Western Region.

The devastation is expected to cost the corporation €95,000, or GH1.14 million.

According to police sources, the Odikro identified as Nana Agyarko’s behaviour was motivated by his ambition to regain a portion of government land assigned to GREL for rubber plantation, rezone it, and sell it to private persons for development.

The accused have been granted bail by the Takoradi Divisional Police Command, which is overseeing the case.

According to preliminary police investigations, the Odikro allegedly recruited several young individuals from outside Gyabenkrom, the hamlet where the plantation is located, to down the trees.

Odikro and his two accomplices are assisting police with their investigations.

Tour

Nana Kwesi Agyeman IX, Chairman of the Association of Chiefs on Whose Land GREL Operates (ACLANGO), has since led a tour of the devastated plantation at Gyabenkrom to assess the degree of damage to the rubber trees.

At a press conference following the inspection trip, the chairman labelled the culprits’ actions as a threat to national growth since they did not regard the national interest, employee job security, or the community.

“Through the association, GREL and traditional rulers have been working together and living peacefully since 1993,” Nana Agyeman remarked.

He also denounced the criminals’ actions, saying they had the potential to send mixed messages to the investing community.

As a result, the ACLANGO chairman requested the police to conduct a comprehensive investigation, apprehend and prosecute all perpetrators.

Benefits to Community

According to Nana Agyeman, the company’s operations in the area generated over 4,500 direct jobs to the local populations in its catchment area, as well as over 50,000 more jobs through its out-grower initiative.

He further stated that GREL was one of the region’s key economic players, giving livelihood assistance to over 70,000 people and that it was improper for the criminals to enter the state land allotted to it for tree cultivation and kill the trees.

These incursions on GREL lands, Nana Agyeman added, would have a direct impact on the raw material base required for the smooth operation of the company’s two factories, emphasising the need for all relevant state actors to take the necessary steps to protect GREL’s legally leased concessions to ensure the long-term employment of the area’s youth.

Nana Agyeman noted that the current scenario, in which some persons encroached on GREL grounds in the name of community growth and galamsey, was an unlawful act that deserved to be denounced.

Support

The chairman emphasised that the organisation and all other traditional rulers supported any disciplinary action taken by the police against the culprits within the parameters of the law.

“Those who forcibly take over GREL lands in the name of community expansion without consulting the Office of the Lands Commission, the agency tasked with managing all state lands, are breaking the law and must face the consequences.”

“A country seeking partnerships for investment and development should not have its citizens taking the law into their own hands and destroying private investors’ investments,” Nana Agyeman added.

Background

R. T. Briscoe began the plantation as a tiny private operation in 1957 at Dixcove, with a plantation area of 923 hectares.

The plantation was nationalised in 1960 as the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC), and then in 1962 as the State Farms Corporation.

The Rubber plantation had grown to Abura and Subri at the time.

Briscoe (Firestone) surrendered its stake in GREL to the government in 1980, making the company entirely state-owned.

The government entered into a financial deal with the then Caisse Française de Development (CFD), now Agence Française de Development, to repair and operate the company’s Rubber plantation, as well as to construct a new rubber processing factory at Apimenim.

Following the rehabilitation in 1996, the French management firm, Societe Internationale de Plantations d’Heveas (SIPH), became the business’s principal stakeholder with a new 50-year renewable lease.

Source: Graphic.com.gh

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NAGRAT advocates for reconsideration of the Free SHS policy

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According to a research by Africa Education Watch, the average government spending on Senior High School (SHS) pupils between 2017/18 and 2021/22 academic years. The survey found that the government paid GH¢1,241 per student under the Free SHS regime, whereas parents spent GH¢4,185 annually throughout the same period. This underlined the government's policy issues, as its budget credibility rating steadily fell over the 2019/20 and 2021/22 academic years. Based on this backdrop, NAGRAT is certain that a review will alleviate the burden on parents.

The National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) has urged for a reconsideration of the policy so that parents who can afford it can pay their children’s tuition and other expenditures.

The Association feels that this will reduce part of the government’s burden.

According to research by Africa Education Watch, the average government spending on Senior High School (SHS) pupils between 2017/18 and 2021/22 academic years.

The survey found that the government paid GH¢1,241 per student under the Free SHS regime, whereas parents spent GH¢4,185 annually throughout the same period.

This underlined the government’s policy issues, as its budget credibility rating steadily fell over the 2019/20 and 2021/22 academic years.
Based on this backdrop, NAGRAT is certain that a review will alleviate the burden on parents.

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Chiefs stage demonstration against mining near Kwanyarko Water Works

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Local leaders led the community members in their intense opposition to the proposed mining project, citing probable environmental damage and the threat to their principal supply of water as grounds. Agona Kwanyarko is strongly reliant on the waterworks for clean and safe drinking water, and any disruption to its operation might have serious effects for the population.

Chiefs and villagers of Agona Kwanyarko, in the Central Region’s Agona East District, have taken to the streets to protest President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the Minerals Commission.

The rally is in response to the government’s stated plans to start mining near the Agona Kwanyarko water facilities.

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Local leaders led the community members in their intense opposition to the proposed mining project, citing probable environmental damage and the threat to their principal supply of water as grounds.

Agona Kwanyarko is strongly reliant on the waterworks for clean and safe drinking water, and any disruption to its operation might have serious effects on the population.

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During the demonstration, protestors held banners and chanted slogans protesting the government’s decision to allow mining near the waterworks.

They emphasised the importance of preserving their natural resources and demanded urgent action to prohibit any mining activity that threatened their access to pure water.

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NCA closes down four radio stations in Bawku

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The violence has resulted in the loss of life and property in Bawku and the neighbouring districts. Invoking its powers under Section 13(1)(e) of the Electronic Communications Act of 2008 (Act 775), the NCA justified the closure as necessary for national security and the public good. This clause gives the Authority the authority to suspend or revoke licences or frequency authorizations if it deems it necessary for national security or the public interest. In a statement, the NCA reiterated its commitment to working with key stakeholders and asked all parties concerned to carefully follow the rules and laws that govern the communications business.

The National Communications Authority (NCA) has shut down four FM radio stations in Bawku, Upper East Region.

The targeted stations, Bawku FM, Source FM, Zahra FM, and Gumah FM, were shuttered after Upper East Regional Security Council recommendations and Ministry of National Security instructions.

Concerns over the Radio Stations’ activities, as well as provocative statements made by its panellists and presenters, have reportedly contributed to the escalation of the Bawku violence.

The violence has resulted in the loss of life and property in Bawku and the neighbouring districts.

Invoking its powers under Section 13(1)(e) of the Electronic Communications Act of 2008 (Act 775), the NCA justified the closure as necessary for national security and the public good.

This clause gives the Authority the authority to suspend or revoke licences or frequency authorizations if it deems it necessary for national security or the public interest.

In a statement, the NCA reiterated its commitment to working with key stakeholders and asked all parties concerned to carefully follow the rules and laws that govern the communications business.

Click here to read the full statement

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