Tension is brewing at Apemso, a pre-dominantly cocoa and crops farming community in the Ejisu-Juaben Municipality of Ashanti following what the citizens allege is a betrayal of their trust and confidence by the Odikro or Regent, Nana Atta Boadu.
The people are appealing to the government to immediately intervene to protect their large acreage of plantations and farmlands from an imminent destruction to allow a private company to mine rocks situated in the area.
According to the Apemso citizens, the traditional authority has leased out a 200-acre land within which the rocks are located to the private Quarrying Company to mine the rocks for which the company has made attempts to move to site to begin work.
Following reports, Nicholas Osei-Wusu visited the community and the sites under consideration to ascertain the veracity of the complaints.
Apemso is predominantly a cocoa and crop farming community in the Ejisu-Juaben municipality of the Ashanti region.
It is led by a Regent, Nana Atta Boadu under the supervision of the Oyokohene of the Juaben traditional area in accordance with the history of the area.
On arrival to the town, a group of agitated citizens were chanting songs and beating empty cans in disapproval of the sale of their farmlands and plantations to a private company, JOESHOP Construction Company, to mine igneous rock situated in the area.
It was found out that the igneous rock is located about the five-minute walking distance from the centre of the community while about a one-hundred-acre land has already been marked out by the said company for its quarrying business. Also found were erected concrete pillars demarcating the initial one hundred acres of the land for the quarry.
Within the marked zone are cocoa, oil palm and orchard plantation in addition to crop farms which are likely to give way to the stones quarry. Seventy-year-old Opanin Isaac Aboagye whose nine-acre cocoa farm has been earmarked for the destruction of the stone quarry business said he is not ready to give in to any request to surrender his farm.
It was again realized that the local basic school also falls within the demarcated land for which the concerned citizens claimed that the private company plans to relocate it.
A mechanized borehole provided for the school serves as the most reliable source of drinking water for the entire community.
Among the fears of the people is that a relocation of the local basic school could deprive them of their main source of drinking water since the only community-based borehole sunk for them has not been functional in the last two years.
One of the Community leaders, George Twum and his younger sibling, Set Twum, said they were recently arrested and manhandled by personnel from the Juaben Police for allegedly inciting the community members against the stone quarry deal.
They alleged that the quarry is serving as a cover-up for the company to prospect and mine gold in the area.
When contacted, the Odikro of Apemso, Nana Atta Boadu and the Oyokohene of Juaben, Nana Nyameafie Baakoapem, said they have entered into agreement with the JOSHOP Construction Company for only stone quarry for road construction purposes and that the claim of gold mining is untrue and that the business proposal was considered in view of the prospects of jobs creation for the people and also opening up the community to the outside world.