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Crime & Punishment of Monday, 28 June 2021

Source: CrimeCheck Ghana

Crime Check Foundation sensitizes citizens on AMA bye-laws

Lawyer Nii Bi Ayi Bontey, Head of the Legal Department, AMA Lawyer Nii Bi Ayi Bontey, Head of the Legal Department, AMA

Vagrants and assembly authorities within the Accra metropolis have undergone a 1-day training exercise to increase their awareness on the bye-laws of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) to reduce violations of the laws and to decriminalize those that fight against poverty.

The event which was organized by Crime Check Foundation (CCF), forms part of the implementation of the CCF-OSIWA partnership dubbed “Decriminalizing Vagrancy Laws and Advocacy” project.

The project seeks to create an enabling environment for vagrants to know, claim and exercise their rights and responsibilities in Ghana.

These vagrants include the homeless, street hawkers, head porters, vendors, truck pushers, market women, and artisans, among other vulnerable groups.

In attendance were officials of the AMA, members of the media, and the leadership of various informal sector groups such as market women, truck pushers, transport associations, beauticians, hawkers, waste contractors, and the Ghana Federation of Disability.

Elected Assembly Members representing twenty-two (22) electoral areas within the Metropolis also showed up at the programme.

Speaking at the programme, the head of the Legal Department of the AMA, Lawyer Reginald Nii Bi Ayi Bontey, admonished vagrants to abide by the Assembly’s bye-laws in order to save them from the fines and imprisonments for breaking the laws.

The legal practitioner was happy about the CCF-OSIWA partnership which seeks to educate vagrants on the need to avoid violation of bye-laws so that they do not waste their hard-earned savings on fines.

“I am excited that Crime Check Foundation in partnership with OSIWA is rolling out this programme to facilitate the education of our people on our bye-laws. It is going to help restore sanity in our society. It is important that our people abide by the laws so that they do not pay huge fines which could be their working capital,” he said.

Mr. Bontey however, called for a review of fines and jail terms that are handed to these vagrants, which he said, “are outrageous”.

Leadership of the groups were entreated to take sensitization down to their members for improved knowledge on the bye-laws and a reduction in violations, arrests, and imprisonments under the laws.

The participants, while commending CCF for organizing the programme, however, appealed for resources to enable them to carry on the education to their members.

The project is being undertaken in twelve (12) Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDA’s) within Greater Accra, Ashanti and the Central Regions of Ghana.

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