Three student unions, in three separate letters, have petitioned the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu, to reconsider his decision on the closure of the Ghana School of Survey and Mapping (GSSM).
The National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS), the University Students Association of Ghana (USAG), and the Ghana Union of Professional Students (GUPS) indicated their displeasure over the way government was handling the issue.
It would be recalled the student leadership of GSSM told Class FM about the wrongful acquisition of a portion of their school lands by a private developer to be used to build a shopping mall. The students embarked on a series of protests to press their demands.
Following their demonstration which resulted in vandalism of school property, Mr Amewu sanctioned the closure of the school.
On Wednesday May 10, the Ministry led a group of armed security officers to the campus of the school in Accra to shut it down.
This has compelled the three students’ unions to write to the minister to change his decision. In a release signed by its Press and Information Secretary Kwasi Frimpong, NUGS suggested four things the minister should do to curb the menace. NUGS urged the ministry to:
1. take an active role in mobilising for peace among the students, the school authorities, and ask that the parcel of land which is the property of the government and hence the property of the school be left in the hands of the school authorities for onward development. This must be done as soon as possible. It must be a dialogue in the name of fashioning a comprehensive peace accord to the longstanding dispute over the school’s land.
2. call for an immediate resumption of the school as you have done in its closure. Take an active responsibility in reaching to their leadership: the SRC and any other stakeholder(s) who have interests in this matter for a quick resolve.
3. give an explicit executive order (written statement) to those accused of encroaching on the land and thus wanting to use it for purposes other than improving on education to stop work and vacate the place with immediate speed, given the magnitude of public interest, especially the various student unions’ interest in this matter.
4. lastly, not play ostrich and bury its head in the sand in respect to this matter. As an umbrella union, we shall mobilise our collective forces to demonstrate our disappointment in you and the current government. We shall forever remain solid, resolute and formidable in our fight to press home our demands in all of these suggestions given, herein.
On their part, a statement signed by the president of the University Students Association of Ghana (USAG), Emmanuel Kwarteng Frimpong indicated: “USAG has observed over the period some worrying and disturbing tendencies that have rocked the Ghana School of Survey and Mapping (GSSM) over issues pertaining to school land and the subsequent closure of the school by your ministry and for that matter you as the sector minister, we are, therefore, with this word of solidarity, reaffirming our collective belief and our collective support in respect to what our mother union, thus the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS), has categorically stated and catalogued in its comprehensive open letter to your noble self and the ministry and all stakeholders in this matter.
“We remain resolute in our affirmation of this stand, and we shall rise to the occasion to join them and other student movements across the country to demonstrate our anger and frustration towards your ministry and the current government if the issue is not dealt with.”
The Ghana Union of Professional Students (GUPS) whose president Bismark Gyamfi is also a student of GSSM has issued a statement calling on the minister to reconsider his decision.
Meanwhile, the minister has assured the students that the school will resume its normal activities after the dispute has been resolved.
“We will call them [students] back when the issues are resolved,” he said on Wednesday, May 10.
The students on the other hand have threatened to picket the Flagstaff House if President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo does not stop the sale of the school land.
SRC president Bright Joseph Nsiah, reacting to the development in a press conference in Accra on Wednesday 10 May, called on Mr Akufo-Addo to intervene and prevent the school from being closed down or they picket to demonstrate their displeasure with the directive.