The Tano North District Police has arrested four (4) farmers in Terchire in the Tano North District in the Ahafo Region.
The arrest of the four farmers—Silas Adjei Mensah, Beatrice Mensah, John Mensah and Paul Yaw Asare—occurred around 12:30 p.m., on Wednesday, September 6, 2023.
The arrested farmers who are into teak plantation and other food crops in Terchire, are all members of the Concerned Farmers Association of Terchire, Adrobaa, Susuanso and Afrisipakrom.
A statement by the Association accused Newmont of using the Tano North district police to ‘intimidate and harass’ the affected farmers who were only exercising their constitutional right of owning and protecting their properties.
It said the farmers were on their way to their farms when they noticed that the farm of the Chairman of the Association, John Mensah, was being destroyed by ‘workers or agents of Newmont.’
“In the act of protecting Mr Mensah’s farm from destruction, the farmers were arrested on the farm by the Tano North District Police,” narrated the statement.
It said the arrest was effected following a complaint by the mining company against the farmers.
According to the statement, before the arrest of the 5, three (3) other farmers comprising Yaw Adu, John Mensah and Emmanuel Kwame Marfo had been arrested in a similar manner by the same Tano North district police.
However, the arrest of these 3 farmers, the statement pointed out, was based on a complaint lodged by Newmont, who said the farmers had trespassed onto its concession and destroyed its property.
Continuing, the statement indicated that Yaw Adu, John Mensah and Emmanuel Kwame Marfo were arraigned before the Circuit Court in Duayaw Nkwanta on Monday, September 4, 2023.
“The Court admitted the farmers to bail pending the final determination of the trial,” it said.
The Association alleged that for the past three months (July, August and September 2023), Newmont ‘unlawfully’ has been entering onto the lands of farmers and destroying farmers farm properties without their consent or “negotiating payment of compensation for their farm properties.”
“The destroyed properties comprise teak trees, cocoa farms, palm trees and food crops which belonged to John Mensah, Beatrice Mensah, Yaw Pau Asare, Abraham Amo, Silas Adjei Mensah, Gabriel Kofi Nelson, Abubakar Sadick and Emmanuel Kwame Marfo.
These farms serve as the main source of livelihood for these farmers,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, the affected farmers through their lawyers, the Centre for Public Interest Law (CEPIL), have formally written to Newmont to stop its unlawful destruction of properties of their clients (farmers).
But unfortunately, the statement said the mining company has disregarded this notice and was rather using the Tano North district police to ‘intimidate and harass’ the affected farmers when they exercise their constitutional right to own and protect their properties from destruction by Newmont.
“While the farmers and Newmont are aware that the government has started a process towards compulsorily acquiring some of the lands belonging to some members of the Concerned Farmers Association for mining, no such lands as we write have been compulsorily acquired yet for Newmont’s mining operations in accordance with law.
The destruction of these farms by Newmont will leave no evidence of farm properties for the farmers to demand compensation from government or the lands Commission in the compulsory acquisition process of their land,” the statement concluded.