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Squatters hang on after demolition; Claim they have nowhere to go

Weeks after the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) task force had demolished illegal structures along the Odaw River, some victims of the exercise are still hanging around their former areas of abode, undecided where to move to next.

It has become a daily ritual for some of them, particularly those at Sodom and Gomorrah, to sift through the debris left after the demolition, looking for whatever valuables they can salvage.

During a visit to Sodom and Gomorrah, Avenor and the Kwame Nkrumah Circle where the exercise had taken place, many of the displaced people were seen hanging around.
While some did nothing, others busied themselves by searching through the debris for some finds.

Although the government has provided a place for them to be relocated, a number of the displaced persons the Daily Graphic spoke to indicated their preference for living in the national capital to anywhere else.

For them, nowhere else could provide them more promise than where they were before the AMA demolition task force “unsettled them”.

On whether they envisaged a return to their former places of abode, they said the AMA meant business this time round, as it had detailed people who visited the areas to ensure that no new structures spring up, while those who had been displaced prepared to leave.
Fatima’s story

A displaced woman who identified herself only as Fatima, with a baby strapped to her back and holding the hands of two other young ones, said she came to Accra 12 years ago and had her three children with three different men.
The father of her last child, she said, who was selling livestock along the rail line between Avenor and the Neoplan Station at Circle, had accepted the government’s offer and left.

She said the two other men could not be traced.

Every night Fatima and her children sleep in the open.

Meanwhile, she has not decided what to do next.

For livestock dealers, it was business as usual, even though they continued to count their losses that resulted from the destruction of the structures that housed the animals.

From random interviews that the Daily Graphic had with them, it came out that although most of the dealers had places to spend the night, the animals had no shelter and were at the mercy of the weather, as well as thieves, during the night.
They have, therefore, recruited some street boys who keep watch over the livestock at night.

One of the boys, Imoro, said when the owners of the livestock returned the following morning, the first thing they did was to count the animals to ensure that none had been stolen before they paid the boys the GH¢2 fee.

He said on a good day, “when the market is good, my boss gives me GH¢5 before he leaves to spend the night”.


The AMA task force, out of respect for religious sanctity, had given a three-month grace period for mosques in the demolished areas to be relocated.
A regular patron of one of the mosques behind the Neoplan Station at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle told the Daily Graphic that attendance to prayers had reduced drastically.

He said plans for the relocation of the mosque were yet to be drawn up.
A transport company, DKM Transport, which operated along the rails between Avenor and the Kwame Nkrumah Circle, has also not found a new location from where to run its services.

One of the company’s drivers, who spoke on condition of anonymity said even though the transport owners were making arrangements to relocate, they had to operate at the place for some time to inform their patrons about the new location.
When the Daily Graphic visited the place, travellers were boarding vehicles to Bawku, Benin and Burkina Faso.

It was, however, strange that six weeks after the demolition, no attempt had been made to clear the debris from all the demolished sites.

It was observed that dredging of the Odaw River was ongoing close to the bridge that connects Jamestown to Korle Gonno.

A number of wetland birds were seen returning to the area. Some were spotted resting on some silt that had been dredged from the river.


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