THE Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, has called on the Land Administration Project (LAP) to critically study the history of lands in Ghana before taking steps to administer them.
He said appreciating land ownership, customary and traditional arrangements, would enable the LAP to demarcate land boundaries in a manner that would prevent litigation among chiefs.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu stated that various regions and traditional areas had different forms of traditional ownership of land and that could not be neglected by the project.
The Asantehene said this when officials of LAP called on him at the Manhyia Palace.
He said the Asantehene for instance acquired his lands through wars of conquest and that could not be overlooked under any new arrangement.
The LAP officials were at Manhyia to brief Otumfuo on the first phase of LAP, which had ended and preparations being made to begin phase two of the project.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu said in Asanteman, he had entrusted lands under the care of the various stools on behalf of the Golden Stool.
He said the only exception was the lands he gave out to the consorts of the Asantehene.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu said he did not give lands to families but since some of them had occupied the land for centuries, they had the right to benefit from the proceeds from the land and there were custom arrangements to that effect.
On paramount stools, Otumfuo stated that when a stool was elevated to paramount status, he allowed the stool to fully benefit from the proceeds of land for the development of the traditional area.
He said if the government wanted to acquire land on behalf of the state, it needed to pay adequate compensation as enshrined in the 1992 Constitution.
On Kumasi lands, the Asantehene said a section of the lands, known as Part One or Kumasi Town Lands, were vested by the colonial administration in 1902.
He said they were released to the Golden Stool in 1943 but unfortunately, the government after independence repossessed the lands in 1958.
The LAP Task Team Leader from the World Bank, Mr Charles Annor-Frimpong, stated that the project, which started in 2003, was due to end in June, 2011.
He said unlike the first phase, which was implemented nationwide, the second phase of LAP would tackle selected regions, namely Greater Accra, Ashanti, Western and Northern.
Mr Annor-Frimpong stated that the regions were selected for various reasons, explaining that the Ashanti Region for instance was selected because it had a fairly cohesive single traditional authority, making it an advantageous area for scaling up the development of traditional land administration systems.
He outlined the project objectives to include strengthening land administration systems, improving business processes for service delivery, improving maps and spatial data, and human resource development and project management.
The World Bank and other development partners are implementing the LAP.