The Ga Dangme Council, Ga Dangme Muslim Council and the Alliance of Ga Dangme Organizations Overseas have jointly petitioned President John Mahama to extend the deadline for the submission of claims for the Accra Marine Drive Investment Project to June 30, 2017.

They also asked the President to “hold public hearings in Ga, Osu and Jamestown communities to properly inform community members via written, verbal and visual information about the Marine Drive Project and elicit input and address concerns.”

The petition was accordingly submitted to the President yesterday in Accra through the Secretary of the Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah.

The petitioners had reportedly succeeded in obtaining signatures from 600 Ghanaians who are opposed to the project.

The petitioners urged the President to “consult and liaise with a committee comprising representatives of the Ga, Osu and Jamestown Traditional Council, Ga Dangme organizations, and community leaders to elicit their inputs and feedback to ensure that they are informed about developments and progress of the Marine Drive Project.”

The petitioners further admonished President Mahama to ensure that the project “includes local content, culture, images and symbols in the proposed tourism project, recruit and hire indigenous artisans and contractors.”

The Marine Drive Investment Project seeks to modernize the coastal belt of Accra to make the city a trade and economic hub in the West African sub-region.

The project, jointly financed by three Chinese companies, would be situated on land stretching from the Osu Castle through the Independence Square to the Arts Centre under Executive Instrument 59.

But residents along the coastal belt of Accra, who are likely to be affected by the project, have continuously accused government of not being transparent in the negotiation process in the execution of the project.

It would be recalled that residents of Osu, a few months ago, held a press conference to protest against government’s plans to undertake the Marine Drive Project.

Members of the Ga Dangme Council, Ga Dangme Muslim Council, who are the latest to join others to oppose the Marine Drive project, believe proceeds from the sale of Ga Dangme lands by government were going into the pockets of few private individuals.

Former President of the Ga Dangme Council, Dr. K.B. Asante, who addressed the media yesterday after the submission of the petition, said “the government’s continual sale of public lands acquired compulsorily from the Ga and Dangme people to private interests without any benefits to the original allodia owners is not only confrontational and insensitive but does not bode well for peace in Ghana.”

“It exacerbates the tensions and legitimate anxiety that has arisen over the handling of Ga and Dangme lands acquired by the Gold Coast and Ghana governments,” it said.

They have therefore called for more time in the consultation process to ensure that the interests of all parties in relation to the acquisition of the land are promoted.

By Melvin Tarlue/dailyguideafrica.com

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