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General News of Sunday, 26 August 2018

Source: citinewsroom.com

Agbogbloshie Demolition: AMA ‘bullying’ residents to increase revenue – Nii Lante

Member of Parliament for Odododio Constituency, Nii Lante Vanderpuye, is accusing authorities of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) of intimidating residents of Agbogbloshie –a surburb of Accra, where a planned demolishing exercise is expected to take place soon.

The AMA has indicated that it will go ahead to pull down illegal structures at Agbogbloshie despite protests by squatters in the area.

According to the AMA, the demolition is to pave way for some tomato sellers to ply their trade.

But Mr. Vanderpuye strongly believes the use of force to eject the residents is a deliberate attempt by the assembly to increase its revenue gains.
“What the AMA wants to do is that they want to bully people to take their lands in order to sustain their revenue generation.”

Speaking on Citi TV/Citi FM’s news analysis programme, the Big Issue on Saturday, the legistalor claimed the traders for whom the demolition will be carried out are a main source of income for the AMA, hence the latter’s decision to go ahead with the exercise to their benefits.

“Because these people (traders) bring tomatoes from Burkina Faso and other parts of West Africa and they offload around the Abuja area towards the Accra Brewery and they cause a traffic nuisance there, the AMA has been taking money from them. The AMA is making big money from them [and because of that] AMA has to find a place for them to really settle in order to generate maximum revenue from them.”

Mr. Vanderpuye, who was worried about the development, advised the AMA to re-consider its mode of operation and adopt a more structured way of going about the whole exercise.

“And I think the best thing the AMA can do is to see the owners of the land in Accra to secure a land or use authority or get an executive power, do compulsory acquisition, pay compensation and build a market.”

“But AMA will not do that, they just want to come in and say the land is government land. The people are squatters and so they are going to demolish and they will not reason”, he fumed.

We’ll eject Agbogbloshie squatters despite protest – AMA

Authorities at the AMA have stated that they are unfazed by protests over the demolition exercise.

In a Citi News interview, Gilbert Nii Ankrah, Head of Public Affairs at the AMA, said the assembly will not back down its decision despite the protests because it had given the squatters enough time to vacate the place.

“We have given them ample time to ensure that they move their belongings and failure to do so we will be forced to eject them. They are not supposed to be there, and the assembly is not making any arrangement to relocate them to any other place.”

The exercise, when embarked upon, will affect over 1000 structures along the railway line, spanning from the Accra Breweries Company to the Agbogbloshie station in Accra.

A similar exercise conducted at Old Fadama in 2015, led to the destruction of about 1000 structures and a subsequent riot.