Land Disputes Catholic bishops unhappy over high rate of land grabbing

In a communiqué issued by the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference at the end of their annual plenary assembly held in Tamale in the Northern Region lamented the rate at which multinational companies indiscriminately acquire lands leading to displacement of occupants.

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The Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference has expressed outrage over the increasing rate of land grabbing in the country.

This was contained in a communiqué issued by the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference at the end of their annual plenary assembly held in Tamale in the Northern Region.

“We are unhappy with the growing incidence of land grab in the country and the indiscriminate acquisition of large tracts of land by multinational corporations, usually led by greedy and unpatriotic indigenes.”

“While we do not discourage investment in food production and opportunities for industrialization, we condemn land acquisition that robs Ghanaians of their heritage and impacts negatively on the ecosystems and food cultures of our people.”

Land grabbing is the contentious issue of large-scale land acquisitions; the buying or leasing of large pieces of land in developing countries, by domestic and transnational companies, governments, and individuals.

READ ALSO: One dies in renewed clashes in Northern Region

According to a 2008 report by Thomson Reuters Foundation 100,000 hectares(ha) of Mali’s fertile land, was handed to Libyan investors in a 50- year renewable lease with no discussion about the impact on impoverished communities, who had farmed this land for generations (over 800 years).

This often leads to displacement as very often the land was being occupied by some people before it got sold.

In recent times people have been killed in Ghana over land disputes. Most multinational firms in the quest to stop renting office spaces that they find expensive would rather acquire lands for construction. This is thought to be cost-efficient in the long-run.

The Bishops’ Conference called on all key stakeholders to play their roles to help fight this menace.

"We call on all key institutions, charged with the planning, administration and conservation of land, to stop the incidence of land grab.”

READ ALSO: One shot dead over land dispute

The communiqué also lamented the level of environmental pollution currently in the country.

“The earth is our common home. Yet, we have inflicted harm of various kinds and degrees on our natural environment by our irresponsible use. We have plundered our environment recklessly through indiscriminate dumping of rubbish and industrial waste, ‘galamsay’ activities, logging, deforestation, water pollution and other forms of ecological degradation.”

It recommended that Ghanaians take clean-up activities of the National Sanitation Day seriously to help keep Ghana clean.

“We commend the current call, throughout the country, for the monthly clean-up exercises within our immediate surroundings. We further urge Ghanaians to do these exercises more frequently and religiously. As we seek to be godly, let us equally endeavour to be cleaner. We cannot be happy with the perception that Ghana is among the world’s dirtiest countries. Let us treat our environment the very way we will treat ourselves since a healthy environment makes us healthier and happier,” it added.

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