The Member of Parliament (MP) for Odododiodioo, Edwin Nii Lantey Vanderpuye, has said that he is a member of the Owoo Family; the said pre-acquisition owners of the Achimota Forest land.
According to the MP, his great grandmother, Naa Kwarley Quartey, and her husband Nii Owoo were the owners of the land before it was taken over by the state.
Vanderpuye, who was speaking in a Good Morning Ghana interview, added that his family began the fight to claim portions of the Achimota Forest land in the 1990s when the late ex-President Jerry John Rawlings was in power.
“… the said land was acquired by Nii Owoo and my great grandmother, Florence Naa Kwarley Quartey Vanderpuye. After leaving Vanderpuye, she (Naa Kwarley) married Nii Owoo. She was quite rich, she owned a lot of lands and she gave a lot of lands out for public good.
“I grew up to get knowledge (of this history) from my grandfather. So, in the cause of time, I felt that we the matrilineal side, the Vanderpuyes, we have not been treated fairly, so I contacted our cousins the Owoos and said [look the land was acquired by our great grandmother and our great grandfather, it looks like you have taken us out].
“So, instead of litigating we joined forces to petition, in fact, we started from the days of Jerry John Rawlings… he (Rawlings) was so passionate, you know his mother also married into the family… he was so particular about this and he said I went to Achimota School and I will not allow even a quarter of this land to be taken away. He even got mad with the extension of the golf course to eat into part of the forest,” he said
The MP, who is a former Minister of Sports, further stated that it was during the era of ex-President John Agyekum Kufuor that the state began to give peripheral portions of the Achimota Forest land back to his family.
He said the Kufuor government agreed to give his family 90 acres of the land, after the strong appeal of the family which the John Dramani Mahama and Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo governments all increased after several petitions and negotiations.
Vanderpuye added that he is particularly worried that even though his family members including himself have not gotten their share of the land because they were waiting for it to be declassified as a forest reserve it appears that some government officials have already acquired some acres of the land.