The Member of Parliament for the La Dade-Kotopon constituency, Rita Naa Odoley Sowah, is asking the government to, as a matter of urgency, bring finality to the land dispute between members of the Coalition of La Associations (COLA) and the Ghana Armed Forces.
This comes after some members of the Coalition, who were protesting the encroachment of La stool lands by the military were, together with journalists covering the demonstration, brutally assaulted by some military personnel.
The MP addressed the media on the matter on Friday.
“As MP for the area, I condemn the force that was used by the military against the people of La. I believe the military is to protect, not to harm us. So if we are cohabitating with the military, I believe there should be some dialogue and consensus on the land dispute. The residents and some journalists have been assaulted, and I don’t think this augurs well for us as a nation” she said.
While condemning the incident, the lawmaker urged the government to resolve the matter immediately to forestall any further occurrences.
“I am calling on the government, the Ministries of Defence and Lands and the Lands Commission to come together for an amicable solution between the people of La and the Ghana Armed Forces. We are peaceful people and so if we sit down and dialogue, I believe there will be peace”, she added.
Soldiers on Thursday, April 15, 2021 beat and chased away demonstrators protesting over the alleged encroachment of La Stool lands by the military.
Some of the media personnel who were there to cover the protest were also beaten and manhandled by some of the soldiers at the scene.
The group within the La Traditional Council, the Coalition of La Associations, defied orders of the police to suspend their intended demonstration.
Soldiers were seen dragging a protestor on the ground who was subsequently hit in the head.
Some soldiers were also seen beating fleeing protestors with sticks.
One soldier in a video is heard telling the media personnel not to take any photos.
However, the military has unreservedly apologized to the journalists and some other civilians who suffered the brutality during the protest.
The military administration in a statement said it is gravely disturbed by the unfortunate incident and, as a matter of urgency, it has commenced investigations into the matter.
It, however, acknowledged that “reasonable force” used in restraining the protestors since the site for the demonstration houses vital military installations which, if destroyed, will negatively impact national security.
The land in contention is between Tse Addo and Airport Hills, around the Military Cemetery.
Addressing the media prior to the demonstration, a spokesperson for the group, Jeffrey Tetteh said they will not be deterred by the presence of the police to seek the release of the annexed lands by the military.
“Our forefathers laid down their lives, and they shed their blood to regain this land for us. It is our time to also gain the land and bequeath to the generations after us.”
The group has previously said President Akufo-Addo has promised to give the stool about 200 acres of the land. It has however admitted that no MoU has been signed in this regard.