Chiefs of the Akyem Abuakwa State has said they will not secede an inch of their lands or tolerate any customary violations within their territory henceforth, indicating that any such infringement will have consequences.
In a press conference addressed by the Akyem Abuakwa State Secretary D. M. Ofori Atta for and on behalf of Nananoom in response to matters bothering the claim of ownership of Adoagyiri by Akyem Kotoku, Nananoom indicated that, Adoagyiri is not contiguous with any of the lands of the Kotoku State.
They said more than five towns of Akyem Abuakwa seperate Adoagyiri from Akyem Kotoku.
There has been tension in the Adoagyiri township following a restraining order secured by the Ghana Police Service over the celebration of this year’s Odwira Festival by the embattled Chief of Adoagyiri Nana Ofutu Dompreh on one side and a planned installation of a new Chief of Adoagyiri by the Akyem Abuakwa State.
The tension flows from claims by some three persons purporting to represent Akyem Kotoku that Adoagyiri is part of the Akyem Kotoku Traditional Area and demanding that, the Okyenhene Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin desists from interfering in the chieftaincy matters of Adoagyiri.
At the press conference, Nananoom of Akyem Abuakwa State mentioned that Adoagyiri since historical times has been part of Akyem Abuakwa and falls directly under the Apapam stool which is an integral part of the Amantuomiensa group of Akyem Abuakwa.
They said, records indicate that, all successive Adoagyiri Chiefs have been part of the Akyem Abuakwa State Council and that, the Kotoku citizens just as other ethnic communities are settlers, granted usufructuary right and have no allodia right to any land at Adoagyiri.
Below is the full Press Statement:
PRESS CONFERENCE HELD BY NANANOM OF THE AKYEM ABUAKWA STATE ON THE CHIEFTAINCY IMPASSE AT NSAWAM-ADOAGYIRI
AND RELATED QUESTION OF LAND OWNERSHIP
OFORI PANIN FIE, KYEBI, 13TH MARCH 2023,
Ladies and gentlemen of the press, accept our appreciation of being here this morning despite the rather short notice.
This press meeting as indicated by the invitation is to clarify issues of Nsawam-Adoagyiri land and chieftaincy dispute and to educate the public on the history of Akyem Abuakwa.
The OforiPanin Fiehas found it necessary and imperative to respond to amatter bothering the claim of ownership ofAdoagyiriby Akyem Kotoku.
This relates in part to the injunctionplaced by the Ghana Police Service on a planned celebration of the Odwirafestival by certain persons claiming to be the traditional authority of the town.
The matter provoked our understanding of reports of rising tension in the town due to the public questioning of the customary propriety and legality of the planned celebration sanctioned by certain persons purporting to be acting on behalf of the Kotoku Traditional Council.
It follows claims that Adoagyiri is part of the Akyem Kotoku Traditional Area and related to this, a certain George Twum,who claims to be the Chief of Adoagyiri and the Ankobeahene of Kotoku masquerading with the title‘OkoanadwoAfutu Dompreh II’.
Following this development three persons, Obrempong Gyamfi Saforo, Obrempong Sintim Poku, and Nana Kwesi Kyeretwie,purporting to represent the Kotoku State, in a letter dated the 23rd February2023demanding that His Majesty Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin desist from the interference in the Chieftaincy matters in Adoagyiri.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the press, permit me to reiterate the following established facts:
- Adoagyiri is the border town and entry into the Akyem Abuakwa Kingdom from Accra. This in is indicated by the Nsawam bridge across the Densu River as entrance of the Akyem Abuakwa kingdom.
- Adoagyiri has since historical times been part of Akyem Abuakwa and falls directly under the Apapam Stool which is an integral part of the Amantuomiensa Group of the Akyem Abuakwa State.
- Records indicate that all successive Adoagyiri Chiefs have been part of the Akyem Abuakwa State Council; inclusive in the records are evidence of land transactions;
- Concerning the above, Barima Adu Kokor II, who passed on in 2007, served the Ofori Panin Stool as the most dedicated and one of the longest reigning Chiefs of Akyem Abuakwa, was installed in 1953 as Chief of Adoagyiri;
- The Kotoku citizens just as other ethnic communities are settlers, granted usufructuary right and have no allodia right to any land;
- Further to the above it should be clearly understood that, land by Akan Tradition is the fundamental condition for the exercise of customary right, the two being intricately linked and inseparable;
- The Okyenhene being the allodia ownerof the land in Adoagyiri exercises exclusive customary authority;
- There are no records that establishes that Adoagyiri is and has ever been part of Akyem Kotoku Traditional Area;
- Adoagyiri is not contiguous with any of the lands of the Kotoku State—more than five towns of Akyem Abuakwa separate Adoagyiri from Akyem Kotoku lands.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the press, we are forced under the circumstances to give a brief historical account of Akyem history.
To understand the contest of the matter, we kindly wish you to note that the Adoagyiri impasse is nothing new.
It is not the first time that the Kotoku State has attempted to lay dubious claim to Akyem Abuakwa lands.
Over five centuries ago, the ancestors of Akyem Abuakwa migrated from Adansi Akrokere Kokobeante to establish the Akyem Abuakwa State, which stretches from the Densu River in the precincts of Nsawam in the South, to the Pomposu River in theEast,to the environs of Kwahu border abutting theJejeti town to the north.
The Kotoku State was originally rehabilitated at Gyadam near Osino in 1824. It waslater relocated in Western Akyem in 1863 after the Gyadam war.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the press, it is imperative to note that the land on which the capital of Kotoku State, Nsuaem, subsequently named Akyem Oda was granted rent-free to them by Akyem Abuakwa.
As recent as 1902 King Attafua of Kotoku petitioned Sir Matthew Nathan, the Colonial Governor to incorporate the Abuakwa towns of Akyease, Gyadam, Kyea, Otwereso and Brimso into the Kotoku state on grounds that majority of the population were ethnic Kotoku.
The Colonial Administration dismissed the petitioned with contemptuous disregard.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, the question of jurisdiction is not based on ethnicity or tribal identity. Jurisdiction is geographical and territorial.
It is on these same grounds that Adoagyiri cannot be claimed by any settler community whether Ga, Ewe, Krobo or Kotoku.
But there are more reasons why the Kotoku claim to Adoagyiri ownership is provocative, unfounded and vexatious.
The celebrated English author Poly Hill in his book Migrant Cocoa Famers of Southern Ghana: a Study in Rural Capitalism made copious reference to a judgment of the Gold Coast Supreme Court case between Akyem Apedwa and Akyem Apapam. In page 151 of the book the learned author stated as follows: – the principal object of the law suit in Accra in December 1894, was to settle whether Apedwa or Apapam had the right to own the land from which a ferry was operated over the River Densu at Nsawam. The Plaintiff, the chief of Apedwa, alleged that his predecessor had given permission to one, Addo Agyiri, to settle on the land, which lay within the area controlled by his stool and that he had started and worked the ferry for him, later giving him canoes in payments for the permission given to him to live on the land. The defendant, the chief of Apapam, alleged that the land lay within the area controlled by him and that it was his predecessor who had granted Addo Agyiri permission to live on the land. The defendant, the chief of Apapam, alleged that the land lay within the area controlled by him and that it was his predecessor who had granted Addo Agyiri permission to live on the land. Addo Agyiri himself, whose occupation only went back some eight years, denied that permission had been given by the chief of Apapam, but admitted that when he first went on the land his right to be there had been challenged by the Apapam people. Judgement was entered in favour of the chief of Apapam.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the press, a recent brochure produced by the defunct chief of Adoagyiri as part of his aborted Odwira celebration made a clear admission that “the land here belong to the Apapam of Abuakwa state”.
Akyem Kotoku has long standing chieftaincy dispute and thus the three signatories do not represent the position of the Council. It is an orchestration to impose a Chief in Adoagyiri to facilitate illegal land acquisition.
This situation reflects the growing crises of land theft as the commercial demand of lands in southern stretch of the Eastern Region has sky-rocketed due to open ended western expansion of Accra.
The Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Council hasbeen confronted with similar provocative situations in the past few years, and wishes to indicate that it will be unable to tolerate such developments within those areas.
Okyeman is not prepared to secede an inch of its lands or tolerate customary violations and wish to indicate that any such infringements will have consequences.
There is no Chief of Adoagyiri at the present moment.
George TwumIs an imposter. The general public and particularly land developers dealing with him do so at their own risk
The actions of few persons with parochial monetary interestto present George Twum as chief of Adoagyiri threatens thepublic peace and communal solidarity in these areas, and appropriate law enforcement measures shall be taken if the situation persists.
Akyem Abuakwa has at all material times maintained a healthy and cordial relations with the Akyem Kotokus and all other settler communities on its lands.
The Osagyefuo in consistent with the above is assuring the people of Adoagyiri that he has initiated measures for the selection and installation of legitimate Chief of Adoagyiri as soon as practicable.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the press thanks for your attention. May I now invite your questions.