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Crime & Punishment of Friday, 21 February 2014

Source: Graphic Online

La Market den of drug peddlers, other criminals

Once a vibrant market which attracted traders from all walks of life within the metropolis, the La Market has now become a den of drug peddlers and other criminals.

As soon as traders close from the market, the drug peddlers who sell marijuana, cocaine, heroine and other illegal drugs, take over to do their brisk business from about 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. every day because the market does not have gates.

No renovations

The market has not seen any significant renovation for over 60 years, and conditions there have deteriorated to the extent that the market women have to devise ways of doing business there.

Gutters in front of the market have become so choked with filth that they have become the breeding grounds for flies and maggots.

The stench from the gutter in front of the market has affected their business because people hardly visit the market.

Deplorable state

According to the market queen, Mrs Christiana Yemoley Laryea, the market is in such a deplorable state that the roofs of the stalls leak anytime it rains. She lamented that government after government had visited the market and promised to demolish it completely and construct a new one but up to date nothing had been done.

She said water had not flowed in the market for the past 20 years and market women had to comb the whole area for water; besides there are no urinals or toilet facilities within the market. That, she said, had compounded the sanitation problem in there.

Construction of market

Madam Yemoley Laryea indicated that when the market was first constructed it was airy and bright and on the outskirts of the town but now the town had expanded and the market is now surrounded by buildings, thus making it dark and less airy. The whole market is dark, forcing the market women to sell their wares by switching on lights during the day and this is done at a great cost because of the associated bills and other taxes that the women have to pay. Collection of refuse She said collection of refuse within the market was another problem facing the market as the market women had to wait for days before refuse generated at the market would be collected by Daben, a waste management company. Brief history of market Giving a brief history of the market, Madam Yemoley Laryea said that in the past it was located near the La Mantse palace at Abese, one of the quarters of La, and later the colonial masters built the new market at its present location and the women started business there. She said most of the early traders have died and their descendants have taken over their places but due to the conditions within the market most of the traders have left and bought stalls at Makola and the Agbogbloshie markets in Accra. No fire outbreak “One thing that we are grateful for is the fact tha, the market had not experienced any fire outbreak. The only major problem now is the activities of the drug users and peddlers who sell their drugs with impunity,” she said. She said every morning pieces of smoked Indian hemp and cigarettes were found on the floor of the market. The market queen, therefore, appealed to the government and the La Municipal Assembly (LaDMA) to come to their aid by building a new market for the people of La.

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