A long standing land dispute between the leadership of the World Sanctified Cathedral facilities and a Lebanese national took a dramatic turn on Wednesday, April 17, 2019 when students of the World Sanctified High School (WSHS) staged a “peaceful protest” demanding authorities of the Ministry of Public Works (MPW) to re-enforce the zoning law.
The properties in question are located in Congo Town, opposite the newly constructed Ministerial Complex.
According to the students, who said they are being prevented from accessing their school facilities, the enforcement of the zoning law will allow the reopening of an alley providing free passage to the church that is hosting the school.
The alley is the only access the students, parents and the churchgoers use to enter the Word Sanctified facility, but it has been blocked reportedly by one George Nheme, a Lebanese businessman.
While Nheme is yet to the speak to the issue, the ongoing construction in the alley has continued without let and has effectively prevented the passage of students and other churchgoers from accessing their facility.
The facility includes the Word Sanctified Cathedral of Faith and a school situated just behind the JAC car depot, adjacent to the Old Susan Berry Compound, opposite the newly constructed ministerial complex.
Though the students’ protest was ‘peaceful,’ they have resolved to mount the pressure or else the school will not resume any academic activity for the rest of the school year, a development likely to create serious problems for 12th graders that are expected to sit the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) in May.
Abraham Daryours, the student council president, said their protest was intended to create public awareness about the several challenges they face, owing to the ongoing construction that is blocking easy passage to the school.
Student Daryours said after government placed stop orders on the construction in alley, they were informed early Wednesday morning to use the road from the swamp to the school which will be very impassable during the rainy season.
He called on the government to quickly rescue the institution, because if the building is constructed in the alley, students will not have access to the campus, a situation which may not augur well for those expected to sit the WASSCE.
Blessing Keita, a female secretary to the student council government, said it is unfortunate for the school to be engaged in land dispute with a foreign national, whose intention is to block the access road leading to the campus without government’s timely intervention.
Student Keita said when the construction first started, few students and the school administration engaged authorities at the MoPW, but the ministry placed a stop order on the project. “It was surprising to see that the contractors are building a fence to block the road allowing easy passage to the school.
She said closing the alley will deny them access to education, which will prepare them for the future.
World Sanctified Bible Cathedral Bishop, J. Maxwell Seh, said there are Deeds that showed the construction site in question is an alley on public property.
Bishop Seh said the land fight began in 2011, when the MPW sent a zoning team that established the site as an alley, noting that the ministry placed an X mark on the building to signify a halt to further construction.
He said the Word Sanctified Cathedral has several other facilities, which are now being closed, because of a fence constructed to protect adjacent properties from ‘intruders.’
“There is no other way leading to the church premises that contain a daycare and high school, a bible school, reception hall, pastors’ quarters and a large cathedral for worship services,” Bishop Seh said.
He said the fence in question is an “embarrassment to our existence as a church, and school.”
“The alley is from the Tubman Boulevard, which is just a block away from the church fence. It should be opened, or the one directly behind the one acre of land adjacent to the Susan Berry property from the football field should be opened to give us access to our church compound,” Bishop Seh declared.
He said on previous occasions, when the situation was unfolding, the Word Sanctified Ministries International wrote a letter of complaint to Public Works Minister, Mobutu Nyepan, seeking his kind intervention in an “unjust and embarrassing situation that the institution was at present facing.”
A copy of a letter from the ministry obtained by this newspaper indicates that the Minister had instructed the director of Zoning to probe the impasse and report back to his office.
But while the probe is yet pending, the construction work has continued up to Wednesday, April 17, 2019.