The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) last Saturday demolished tens of unauthorised structures at the Korle Lagoon Ecological Restoration Project (KLERP) site, located near the International Central Gospel Church (ICGC), off the Korle Bu mortuary road.
Three hours of rainfall that morning could not stop the determined AMA task force from carrying out the exercise amid heavy police protection.
The three-hour exercise, which started about 8 a.m., had bulldozers pull down unauthorised wooden structures, kiosks, and other steel containers that served as accommodation and trading posts for the scores of squatters in the area.
Apart from loss of the structures that housed them, the squatters also lost valuables running into thousands of Ghana cedis.
Vehicles belonging to the police, including an armoured car, were positioned at vantage points as armed policemen provided security while the exercise went on.
The police team was led by the Regional Operations Officer at the Accra Police Command, Chief Superintendent, Mr Kwasi Ofori.
Some recalcitrant squatters, led by Mr Henry Okine, who attempted to prevent the AMA taskforce from gaining access to some parts of the settlement, were arrested by the police, but were later released.
A deliberate attempt by some unidentified squatters to set some structures in the area on fire to prevent further demolition was unsuccessful as the police quickly closed in on them and put out the fire before it burst into flames.
Drama unfolded when some of the aggrieved squatters shouted the name of the Assembly member for the Nmemeete Electoral Area in Ablekuma Central, Mr Abane Azoke, alleging that he had failed to protect them as promised.
They alleged that Mr Abane and some political figures had taken money from them and promised them that the area would not be demolished by the AMA.
“Even before the 2016 general election, they gave us the assurance that if we vote for a change of government, they will not touch our structures. We have been contributing money always to enable them to talk to the big people, but why are they demolishing our structures,” one of the squatters who gave his name as Abu Omar queried.
Last Saturday’s exercise followed a notice served by the AMA on the squatters to move out of the area before March 31 this year.
The directive by the AMA was to make way for a successful implementation of the KLERP, in line with government’s quest to rid the capital city of filth.
No briefing by AMA
However, efforts made by journalists who covered the exercise to speak to the AMA officials on the way forward after the demolition exercise, were fruitless as the task force members declined to comment.
“The Chief Executive of AMA is not here, likewise the head of Public Affairs. No one has been asked to speak to the media, so we cannot say anything here,” one of the officials said.
Meanwhile, Chief Supt. Kwasi Ofori said the police would continue to monitor activities in the area to ensure that the squatters did not pose any security threat to the public.
“We are here as professionals who are in charge of securing lives and property and that is exactly what we are doing.
“We have information that the squatters here use the place as a hideout to attack and steal from members of the public. We will intensify our patrols here to clamp down on such activities,” he said.
Ever since the twin flood and fire disaster on June 3, 2015 claimed 159 lives at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle, the AMA has carried out a number of demolition exercises in the capital city.
Some of the areas that were demolished include Sodom and Gomorrah and June Fourth, which is close to Katamanto and runs along the rail lines off the Graphic Road.