Tension mounts at Agbogbloshie over intended demolition exercise

BY: Timothy Ngnenbe
Some residents of the area expressing their displeasure about the intended demolition exercise. Right: A notice written on a structure in the area. Picture: INNOCENT OWUSU
Some residents of the area expressing their displeasure about the intended demolition exercise. Right: A notice written on a structure in the area. Picture: INNOCENT OWUSU

There is mounting tension at Agbogbloshie in Accra following attempts by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) to embark on a demolition exercise that will render about 8,000 people in the area homeless.

The intended exercise will affect about 1,800 structures, stretching from the Railway area behind Accra Brewery Limited to the Agbogbloshie Station, close to Sikkens.

Officials of the AMA reportedly stormed the area last Wednesday and began demarcating structures that would be demolished, much to the displeasure of the residents, who said they had not been given notice of any such exercise.

The Assembly Member for the Korle Dudor Electoral Area, Mr Ashong Katai, came in to stop the AMA officials from continuing with the exercise and that calmed nerves.

Observations

When the Daily Graphic got to the area about 9 a.m. on Thursday, hundreds of residents had gathered in protest against the intended action by the city authority.


The aggrieved residents, clad in red attire, chanted in defiance of what they considered an insensitive move by the AMA and indicated that they would resist any attempt to demolish their structures.

There were notices on some of the structures indicating that the residents had up to one month to vacate the area to pave the way for the demolition exercise.

The Spokesperson for the residents, Mr Robert Nii Ashie, stressed that “we will not allow anyone to come and demolish our homes because we are not illegal settlers”.

“If the officials of the AMA fail to listen to our plight and want to go ahead with the exercise, they must as well kill all of us because we will not leave,” he stressed.

Lack of consultation

For his part, Mr Ashong expressed shock at the intended action to be taken by the AMA, especially when there had been no consultation.

“I am the assembly member for the area and I can tell you that I have not been contacted on this issue, neither was it raised at any assembly meeting. I had to stop them from going ahead with the demarcation last Wednesday because they cannot evict people and bring tomato sellers to use the place as a market,” he said.

AMA’s reaction

Meanwhile, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the AMA, Mr Gilbert Nii Ankrah, has said the assembly would not back down on its decision to demolish structures in the area.

He told the Daily Graphic  that the portion of land where structures had been earmarked for demolition was state property that had been encroached upon by squatters over the years.

“It is the property of the government and so the AMA thought it wise to put it to good use. We want to move tomato sellers who ply their trade in very deplorable conditions from the Agbogbloshie Market  to that place,” he explained.