Gbese Mantse Nii Ayi Bonte II has also joined the list of groups and individuals claiming ownership of the Kantamanto market land.
Government and the traders who used to sell at the fire-ravaged market are all claiming ownership of the land with the traders alleging the land was leased to them by the management of the Ghana Railway Authority.
According to the chief’s spokesperson, Niyibi Ayibonte the land was leased to the Ghana Railway Authority in 1909 for railway business by the Gbese stool.
Speaking on Eyewitness News, Spokesperson, for the chief said “as of 1909 during the reign of my great grandfather Nii Ayi I gave the land to the railways as granted lease of 99 years which expired in 2008. Under that particular lease agreement there was a bond which is called the surrender and renewal bond; they should have come to us for a renewal.”
“They have no right whatsoever to grant any lease when their lease had expired; you cannot give what you do not have. We do not understand the basis upon which the railway corporation is alleged to have granted this lease on lease to other people.”
Niyibi Ayibonte said anybody who wants to use the Kantamanto land for any purpose should consult the leaders and elders of the Gbese Stool for approval. “You can’t build a market on somebody’s land without the person’s consent, that land belongs to a stool, it’s somebody’s land.”
The Gbese stool is however warning that appropriate legal action will be taken to prevent any re-development of the burnt market without permission of the Gbese chief.
Meanwhile Minister for transport, Dzifa Attivor has stated that the erstwhile Kufour administration should be blamed for the situation. According to her “all this would not have arisen if the minister for railways and port of the Kufour administration had not granted the Kantamanto traders the fifty year lease, we will not have found ourselves in this mess; if the NPP government had the committment we [NDC government] have we wouldn’t have been here.”
She however said her ministry will go back to the Gbese Mantse for dialogue and take the necessary steps to continue with the railway development.
Credit: Citi Fm/Gh