By Dennis Osei Gyamfi, GNA
Accra, Feb. 21, GNA - Mr Dominic Nitiwul, the Minister of Defence, has given the assurance that the Ministry would take steps to secure and protect all lands belonging to the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) and ward-off wanton encroachment.
He said it would fence the lands of the Military to avoid losing them to encroachers and coordinate its public-private partnership projects across the country to ensure value for money.
Mr Nitiwul, also the Member of Parliament for Bimbilla, gave the assurance at the Annual West African Security Services Activity (WASSA) held at the Burma Camp in Accra, on Wednesday.
The ceremony provides a platform for the men and women in uniform to fraternise after a year-long service and strategise the way forward.
The Defence Minister said the Armed Forces had already engaged with the Education Ministry towards fencing its lands at Achimota.
He noted that lack of accommodation for its personnel, nationwide, was a major challenge and, thus, commended President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for cutting the sod for the construction of new housing units under the Barracks Regeneration Programme to provide lasting solution to the problem.
Mr Nitiwul recounted various efforts put in place by the Government to better the living conditions of the soldiers and said the Military was prepared to assist the Government in various developmental activities.
“The Ghana Armed Forces would also engage in developmental activities to compensate for the effort of government. That would include road, railway and dam construction, farming, borehole drilling and planting of trees,” Mr Nitiwul said.
The Minister recounted some operations undertaken by the Military in the year under review, which include Operation Vanguard, Operation Calm Life and re-launch of Operation Cow Leg.
He said the activities of Operation Vanguard, intended to flush out illegal miners, had culminated in a number of arrests and seizure of equipment they used.
He said government would provide the needed resources to the personnel so that the objectives of those operations would be achieved.
“It is in this respect that I’m appreciative and the Ghana Armed Forces are appreciative of the efforts of the President for purchasing 50 welfare buses for the troops and their families, which will arrive in this country very soon.
“We’re more than thankful to the Government for enabling the civilian employees get their 11 per cent pay rise.
“This is a huge relief for the Ministry of Defence and the families of the civilian employees.
“And it is worth mentioning that this problem has existed since January 2011”.
The Minister said the pay increment had boosted the morale of the civilian employees and assured that the Ministry would continue to improve the conditions of service of both soldiers and hardworking civilian employees.
Mr Nitiwul said government, through the Defence Ministry, was making efforts to acquire lands for military training in special areas.
“In view of contemporary stress within the Sub-region, the Ministry intends to acquire lands around Peduase in the Eastern Region, Agogo in the Ashanti Region, Daboya in the Northern Region, and Shai Hills in the Greater Accra Region, to facilitate the establishment of Special Forces Unit and to counter the emerging threats, particularly terrorism,” he said.
This, he said, would ensure the combat readiness of the Military to protect the sovereignty of the nation at all times.
He, therefore, gave the assurance that the training ground facility, which was started in Nkonya-Alavanyo in the Volta Region, would be completed this year.