The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), yesterday, continued its massive decongestion exercise as it brought down unauthorised structures at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle―specifically along the railway lines as part of measures to have a cleaner Accra
The structures, mainly built with wood had been erected by squatters some of who were reported to be involved in commercial sex, narcotics trade and other crimes.
However, some traders at the area are up in arms with officials of the AMA for destroying their properties claiming “we are all not prostitutes.”
A visit to the site during the exercise confirmed the fears of many as bulldozers tore down kiosks and stalls which had erstwhile served as livelihood for some of the squatters.
According to one of the residents, though investigations by TV3 had revealed that that part of town was a hub for commercial sex workers and thieves, there were still well-meaning citizens living there.
“As for here, it is a business road. If you say you want to come and break this place, as for this place, there are NPP people here…some people are working here and others are doing ‘ashawo’. If you come and demolish all this place others who are not prostitutes would be affected. Not everybody is a prostitute or a thief over here. Some people have children and family, they are suffering here,” a squatter submitted.
A female squatter and mother of two who was too agitated to give her name said, it was wrong for the authorities to label all inhabitants around the railway as prostitutes.
She said, “where we are, it is not only prostitutes that are here, there are also traders here. For instance, I wear nails for people― that is the business I do.
According to her, her shop at Kaneshie was raised down two years ago leaving her jobless and hopeless.
After setting up another stall, “…it has happened today again. They gave us only three-days’ notice…I have two children and they don’t have a father and I take care of them alone. Now that they have destroyed my business, how can I take care of my children,” she lamented.
The facial expression of the affected squatters reflected the intensity of their ordeal as some were seen yelling at the AMA task force―others were spotted trying to salvage some of their belongings from the wreck.
One Arrested for Possession of Narcotics
Meanwhile, the exercise has led to the arrest of one person for the possession of some substances suspected to be narcotics. The arrest gives some credence the reports and speculations that the area is a hub for drug trade.
According to analysis, the demolition around the popular “Accra Dubai” may have left about 2000 people homeless, wandering and the possibility of regrouping somewhere else expected.
The exercise led by the Chief Executive of the AMA, Mohammed Adjei Sowah, with support from metro guards and Police officers, seeks to decongest and clear off all unwanted and unauthorised structures to restore sanctity in the capital and to ensure free flow of traffic in other areas.
By: Grace Ablewor Sogbey/ firstname.lastname@example.org