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Street hawkers resist decongestion exercise in Tamale

BY: Mohammed Fugu
A member of the Tamale Municipal Assembly task force trying to carry a hawker’s table away
A member of the Tamale Municipal Assembly task force trying to carry a hawker’s table away

Confusion broke out between the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly (TaMA) task force and some petty traders at the central business district (CBD) of Tamale after the traders attempted to resist a decongestion exercise by the city authority yesterday morning (August 1).

The task force embarked on a decongestion exercise to clear the CBD and the pavements of illegal structures, but the traders resisted the exercise, claiming that they were not given prior notice about the exercise, hence, they were not ready to move.

It turned chaotic when members of the task force tried to confiscate the street hawkers’ items. Along the line though, reasoning prevailed and the task force managed to carry out the exercise successfully.

Decongestion

The exercise, which started as early as 6:00 a.m., was led by a task force of security guards from the assembly with support from the police and other security agencies.

They demolished structures on the shoulders of the road and pavements that obstructed pedestrian movement and the free flow of vehicular traffic.

They also cleared traders who had illegally occupied the pavements along the newly constructed interchange.

Traders

The traders accused the assembly of taking money from them and issuing them with receipts to allow them to trade along the unauthorised zones, an allegation the Metropolitan Chief Executive, Sule Salifu, outrightly denied.

A trader, Amina Salifu told the Daily Graphic that they were not given ample time to relocate their businesses to new areas, saying: “we have been paying tax to the assembly and we don’t understand why they are forcefully ejecting us now”.

Another trader, Yakubu Rafia appealed to the assembly to give them ample time to enable them organise themselves properly before relocating.

Instilling discipline

Speaking to the media after the exercise, Mr Sule said the exercise was in line with the assembly’s efforts to instil discipline in the CBD to prevent traders from selling and mounting structures at unauthorised areas.

He indicated that the traders were duly notified to relocate to a satellite market but they failed to heed to the directive, which necessitated the exercise.

“We have made available the Kukuo Market near the Tamale Teaching Hospital to them and we even held a series of engagements with all the hawkers and various stakeholders about the relocation but they failed to comply with the directive.

“The hawkers have taken over all the shoulders of the roads which is very dangerous, so we will do everything within our means to relocate them,” the TaMA Chief Executive stressed.

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