Stay Off Akyem Hemang & BB Alang Co. Ltd. Impasse; Angry Residents Warn Okyehene

Traditional Leaders and Residents of Akyem Hemang in Fanteakwa South District of the Eastern Region have called on His Royal Highness, Osagyefo Amotia Ofori Panin and the Kyebi Executive Council to recuse themselves from the BB Alang Co. Ltd. and the people of Akyem Hemang impasse and allow the Court to decide on the merit of the case pending before it.

According to them, the interference of Osagyefo Amotia Ofori Panin and the Kyebi Executive Council in the said matter will not help but trigger uncontrolled tension within the area.

At a press conference to set the records straight, angry residents who were cladded in red and black armbands and headgears, believed that the Okyehene and Ofori Panin Fie do not have the jurisdiction to adjudicate on the legal and lawful status of BB Alang Company Limited as far as felling of Timber in their forest is concerned.

Addressing the Media, the Youth Leader of Akyem Hemang, Mark Kofi Boadu Aremu, narrated that BB Alang Co. Ltd. approached the community with some documents permitting it to engage in logging in the forest reserve within the Akyem Hemang Stool Lands.

According to him, after much scrutiny it was observed that the documents were not complete to allow them carry out the logging, hence the community refused to accede to the company’s demands to gain access to the forest.

Mark Kofi Boadu Aremu averred that days after the company was turned away, its Directors brought a Social Responsibility Agreement Form with an amount of GHC 5, 185. 06 to the Akyem Hemanghene Osabarima (Prof) Mirikisi Okasum Apori Atta to sign to signify the conclusion of the commencement of the logging activities in the forest.

“This offer was rejected on the grounds that the company could not produce the statutory requirements for the commencement of activities of felling of trees at the forest,” he stated.

He also narrated that BB Alang Co. Ltd. however proceeded to fell trees in the forest although the community rejected their demands resulting in the seizure of their logging equipment by the police.

The seizure of the company’s logging equipment, the media was told, did not go well with the Okyehene who allegedly instructed one D. M. Ofori Atta to write a letter which was dated February 18, 2019 to the Anyinam Police to release the seized equipment to the BB Alang Co. Ltd. for it to go ahead with the illegal activities.

He stated: “The said letter to the Police was written by D. M. Ofori Atta alleging that an amicable resolution of the impasse between BB Alang Co. Ltd. and the Akyem Hemang Community had been brokered.”

According to Mark Aremu, the Akyem Hemang community was not given the attention it deserved since there was no such meeting at which the resolution was brokered.

“Consequent to the ensuing development, Nana Yaw Boadi of BB Alang Co. Ltd. petitioned the Okyehene for the Respondent (Osabarima Mirikisi Okasum Apori Atta) to show cause why he should not be customarily sanctioned for disobeying the lawful orders of Okyehene regarding his attempt to prevent the petitioner from executing a timber permit granted to harvest trees on Hemang Stool Lands,” he indicated.

In the said Petition to the Okyehene, the petitioner indicated that the Respondent and his assigns have expressed a determination to prevent the petitioner of his lawful right to harvest timber by establishing unreasonable conditions for his company and concocting a false understanding of timber law.

Meanwhile, Akyem Hemang residents said traditional authorities do not constitute judicial bodies and therefore, do not have to exercise jurisdiction on matters of law.

Also on the issues of illegal mining in the Akyem Hemang forests, they averred that Akyem Hemang has been the only community within the Akyem Abuakwa area with huge deposit of gold and the Chief Osabarima Mirikisi Okasum Apori Atta resisted all attempts to destroy the land.

According to Mark Aremu, Osabarima Professor Mirikisi Okasum Apori Atta has been doing everything possible to make sure that his crusade against the destruction of the environment through illegal timber logging and mining are legitimately stopped in Akyem Hemang Stool Lands.

He said the crusade launched by Osabarima Mirikisi Okasum Apori Atta has been met with lots of opposition leading to the alleged destoolment of Osabarima Mirikisi Okasum Apori Atta as Akyem Hemanghene.

His supposed destoolment had however called for a reaction from his people.

“It must be noted that on 21st May, 2019, a letter signed by one D.M. Ofori Atta invited Professor Osabarima Mirikisi Okasum Apori Atta to meet the Kyebi Executive Council in respect of matters of his claim concerning the ownership over Dome lands. We find it ridiculous that a Kyebi Executive Council could invite Akyem Hemanghene with respect to claim over ownership of land,” he stated.

The destruction ongoing at the Akyem Hemang river
The destruction ongoing at the Akyem Hemang river

According to him, dispute over claim of ownership of land should not be entertained at the palaces, but they should be referred to the responsible and appropriate organs of state with constitutional and statutory mandate to do so.

They however see the Okyehene’s action as “unfortunate” and called on Okyehene Osagyefo Ofori Panin to harness the energies of the traditional institution to get on board the crusade by the Akyem Hemanghene Professor Osabarima Mirikisi Okasum Apori Atta, to fight against the environmental degradation occasioned by timber logging and illegal mining.

He stated unequivocally that, “we the people of Akyem Hemang as well as some people of Dome and Gyamponi are not in support of the current illegal logging and gold mining activities on our lands. We are resolute in this regard and inform all and sundary that people of Akyem Hemang are in full support of our Chief, Professor, Osabarima Mirikisi Okasum Apori Attaand shall resist lawfully any attempt to embarrass and harass him. Professor, Osabarima Mirikisi Okasum Apori Atta still remains our chief at Akyem Hemang.”



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