The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Mike Hammah, has deplored the flagrant abuse of law and wanton encroachment on state lands by private developers across the country.

The practice, he said, if not halted, could pose a threat to the future growth and development of the country.

He said it was unacceptable for state institutions for which lands had been acquired to sit aloof and allow state lands to be dissipated by private persons.

He, therefore, charged state institutions to adopt proactive measures at protecting state lands.

Mr Hammah said this when he and some officials of the Lands Commissions and his ministry toured some state acquired lands that have been encroached upon in the Greater Accra Region.

The places visited included the South Legon Residential area, Achimota Forest and the Achimota Senior High School, the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) at Kwabenya, the Adenta site for Civil Aviation, the site for the construction of a two-storey seismology earthquake monitoring centre and the Pantang site for Vodafone Ghana Limited.

On the tour with the minister included Mrs Leticia Acquah; Chief Lands Officer at the Lands Commission, Alhaji Hakari Nyari; Director of Public Vested Land Division of the Lands Commission, Mr Joseph Odametey; Director of Survey and Mapping at the Lands Commission.

Mr Hammah said the indiscipline regarding the flagrant violation of the law to build on government lands needed a multi-pronged approach and intersectoral collaboration to deal with, adding that a radical transformation in land acquisition was vital in that direction.

The sector minister, who was worried about the current state of state lands underscored the need to deepen the knowledge and understanding of all stakeholders on the subject.

In addition, he said, judges needed to be engaged on the issue in view of the threat it posed to the future of the country, adding that his visit was to establish the level of encroachment and then see how to address the problem.

Managers of the National Dog Academy, a facility that is supposed to be used for the training of dog handlers, said a third of the land had been lost to encroachers.

It was also realised that lands belonging to the Achimota Senior High School had been heavily encroached upon not only by private developers but also the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), which had turned part of the school land into a dump site.

One notable area was the school farm that had been taken over.

The Managers of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission said about 30 per cent of the 2,002 acres of their land had been encroached by developers.

The sector minister told the Director General of the commission, Prof. Edward Akaho, to ensure that the place was fenced in order to protect the remainder of the land.

Prof. Akaho said the authorities had started planting palm trees along the boundaries to protect the land, but the minister said the trees could be uprooted by encroachers.

The Director General of the GAEC said the country stood the risk of being sanctioned by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) if it violated the nuclear treaties and conventions it had signed with international bodies.

The country, he said, needed to develop nuclear science and technology to address its numerous problems.

At the construction site for the earthquake monitoring centre, the Director of the Geological Survey Department, Mr John Agyei Duodu, said the centre would be completed in July next year.

The centre, he said, would have a lot of potential for the country, adding that it would also have classroom facilities for the training of seismic engineers.