The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, has commended the Ghana Boundary Commission (GhBC) for its role of reaffirmation, delimitation and demarcation of the country’s internal, international land and maritime boundaries.
This, he noted, had helped to minimise conflicts with neighbours at a time religious extremism is becoming a threat to political stability needed to ensure economic growth in the sub-region.
According to him, the Commission has made significant headway in discussions aimed at managing and preserving Ghana’s common land and maritime boundaries.
He further indicated that the emerging security threats confronting the West African sub-region is a clarion call to jointly manage Ghana’s land and maritime boundaries to intensify the safeguarding of territorial integrity.
The Lands Minister gave the commendation yesterday when he paid a working visit to the Commission in Accra. The engagement was also used to fashion out strategies to deal with existing boundary disputes as well as bring certainty to others, particularly maritime boundaries.
Mr Jinapor added that the Commission is up to the task and working around the clock to ensure that the “territorial integrity of Ghana is not comprised”.
The Lands Minister urged the Commission to continue to take urgent steps in helping to settle border challenges with neighbours to avoid “setting the tone for potential conflicts”.
He also said there was the urgent need for the sustainable management of land and maritime boundaries and airspaces through proper demarcation, documentation and protection of boundary pillars. That, he stressed, should be in line with statutory and international laws to safeguard the sovereignty and interest of the nation.
The Minister said disputes over maritime boundaries and competing claims to resources could seriously hinder efforts to advance the growth of coastal states.
Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, he said, have shared commonalities, particularly along their border communities, adding that “except for the official languages, there is no striking difference between us, and this is the more reason it is indispensable for our two countries to iron out issues in a concerted and timely manner,” the Minister said.
Per their mandate, the “GhBC is to reaffirm, delimitate and demarcate Ghana’s international land and maritime boundaries as well as settle boundary disputes between Ghana and her neighbouring countries, in accordance with accepted principles of international law,” he disclosed.
He added that the realisation of this mandate has far reaching implications on the territorial integrity, stability and peace of Ghana as well as the West African sub-region.
Mr Jinapor also revealed that on some occasions, President Akufo-Addo had chaired some of their meetings, and led negotiations in proving that “he is actively involved in the work of the GhBC”.
He expressed satisfaction with the progress of work made in efforts at resolving the maritime boundary dispute between Ghana and its neighbouring countries.
Mr Jinapor reaffirmed government’s commitment to working together to have a Commission fit for purpose.
“We are determined to work with the Director General and entire management of the GhBC to ensure that the resources, namely chemical resources, mineral resources, the lands and maritime boundary of our country, will be firmly demarcated, delimited and reaffirmed. That’s the mandate of the GhBC, and I’m determined to join efforts in executing that,” he reiterated.
Doing this, he noted, will provide resolutions of the issues to help transform the border areas into catalysts for growth, socio-economic development and political integration of the sub-region and to a large extent the continent.
For his part, the National Coordinator of the Ghana Boundary Commission, Major General Emmanuel Kotia, thanked the Minister for the visit and positive feedback.
He reaffirmed commitment to coming out with a blueprint to address challenges such as the destruction of boundary pillars and landmarks along the common international boundary line.
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