Squatters dare AMA. We’re coming back

okokkk1A year after the  Accra Metropolitan Assembly  (AMA) had demolished some illegal structures at Agbogbloshie and its environs in Accra, some of the squatters have returned to the place to settle.

Some of the returnee squatters encountered by the Daily Graphic said they would not move an inch and that they were determined to sort out matters with the AMA.

On June 22, last year, the AMA demolished more than 1,000 structures in the Old Fadama slum, rendering hundreds of the residents homeless.

Some of the dwellers also lost their sources of livelihood to the demolition exercise when a number of their illegal structures along the Railway Line close to the Graphic Road were also demolished.

Some of the evicted squatters, mostly from the three regions of the north, reunited with their families, while others put up with friends in some parts of  Accra.

Visit to affected areas

When the Daily Graphic team visited the affected areas yesterday they saw that some of the dwellers had returned to settle at the Agbogbloshie area.

They had put up make-shift structures in parts of the demolished area, along the Railway Line near the Graphic Road and along the banks of the Odaw River.

At the Timber Market of the Old Fadama slum, the AMA had begun the construction of a wall, while Dredge Masters, a  private company, was seen dredging the Odaw River to allow easy flow of water.

Besides, scrap dealers were busy working along the banks of the Odaw River, while petty traders were engaged in their daily activities.

Plight of residents

The President of the Slums Union of Ghana (SUG), Mr Philip Kumah, told the Daily Graphic that arrangements by the AMA to resettle the evicted slum dwellers at Adjin Kotoku in the Ga West municipality proved futile, a situation which, he said, had worsened the plight of the people.

He said the affected squatters who could not go back to their home towns were left at the mercy of the weather, as they could not find places to lay their heads.squaters

“Some of these people have families to cater for but the demolition crashed their dreams. Most of them feel that it will be better to hustle in Accra than go back empty handed,” he said.

Mr Kumah said the AMA had not done enough to address the plight of the people, more than one year after the demolition, and, therefore, he was not surprised that most of them had resettled temporarily.

Sharing similar sentiments, the Secretary at the Yam Market at Agbogbloshie, Mr Ezekiel Dannah, said the AMA had instructed all resettlers to vacate their temporary structures for construction work on the wall to continue.

“We are still here because we don’t have money to pay our rent. Moreover, our businesses are collapsing and we can’t even pay our kids’ school fees, not to talk of renting.

“For now, whenever it rains, we have to protect our clothing from the rain and get somewhere to hide till the rain is over,” a 25-year-old woman, Maame Akua Ataa, voiced her frustration.

Reaction from AMA

Speaking to the Daily Graphic,  the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the AMA, Numo Blafo, said the assembly was not aware of the new development and that he would liaise with the appropriate authorities for the right action to be taken.

Background

Barely three weeks after the June 3, 2015 flood and fire disaster that claimed about 159 lives, the AMA embarked on the demolition of some unauthorised structures that straddled the heavily polluted Odaw River to make way for dredging activities.

The task force from the AMA, with the assistance of the security forces, razed down the structures which were said to have contributed to the floods in Accra and stalled the execution of the Korle Lagoon Restoration Project.

The exercise was led by the Chief Executive Officer of the AMA, Mr Alfred Okoe Vanderpuye.

 

Graphic Online

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