The government’s vision to redevelop and transform Nima and Maamobi into residential areas is likely to meet stiff opposition from the residents.
According to some of the residents, the government had failed to meet them and discuss the modalities of how it was going to embark on such a vision.
They also said there was the need for the government to seek their views on projects that was going to affect them directly, but that had not been done.
At a Meet-The-Press series in Accra on Tuesday, the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Samuel Atta-Akyea, reiterated President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s vision of transforming Nima and Maamobi into residential apartments.
Ghana’s housing deficit currently stands at two million units with many facing accommodation challenges in cities.
However, a visit by The Mirror to the two communities proved that a lot of the residents were either not aware or had little knowledge about the redevelopment programme.
Even though some said it was welcome news, others stated that it would not see the light of day. The team observed that people were going about their normal duties as usual.
While slums were littered at most sections, there were a few which had been well built.
“As of now, we don’t know whether our buildings are going to be demolished and new ones erected or not.
Nobody has come to tell us anything. So I don’t know how they are going to do that,” Masoud Ibrahim said.
“We like our Nima like that. We do not want to go anywhere,” a trader at Nima told The Mirror.
“We are comfortable in our slums, we don’t need any upgrade and development because the government can’t give us a place of our choice.”
“This land I have my shop on was bought by my husband. So is the government going to pay me and resettle me before embarking on the project?” a shop keeper at Maamobi asked.
Maazi Olembey, who is a businessman at Nima emphasised that “for some of us, we have secured our businesses here, and I don’t see how the government can move us away from here to carry out such a project.
“Already, our parents have told us that similar exercises took place some years ago when they were asked to relocate to Madina and nothing positive came out.”
Daniel Etia, a paint seller at the Maamobi Market said there was the need for the President to, as a matter of urgency, meet stakeholders such as land owners and chiefs before implementing the policy.
“I think this is a laudable initiative that will help all of us. It is my hope that the President will be able to stay focused on this vision.
“There are some uncompleted affordable housing around. So why is the government not focused on finishing those rather than Nima and Maamobi?” another asked.
According to Mohammed Awal, there was the need for the government to focus on changing the mentality of people living in Zongos, “otherwise the same things the government is fighting against will be seen even after the transformation.”
He also advised those living in such areas to be committed towards that transformation, noting that could help erase the negative impression people had about them.
‘We need jobs’
Some of the residents also did not understand why the President was not doing much to tackle the unemployment situation and rather focusing on new policies more often.
Atsu Shabi, a resident, called on the President to be proactive in solving the canker since a lot of the youth in the area were engaged in social vices.