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General News of Monday, 12 March 2018


Leave Nima traders alone and move to Flagstaff House - Akufo-Addo told

Akosua is one of scores of traders and artisans who have been directed to relocate their shops because of its proximity to a national security area - the Nima home of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

They would have to start their businesses all over again as National Security wants to take over the place.

Akosua says she has been there for the past 22 years. Akufo-Addo was then a human rights campaigner, fighting for average Ghanaians whose rights have been abused.

At Nima, the artisans and traders hail him as the man of the people.

Akosua has a detailed overview of Akufo-Addo's rise to power from a human rights campaigner, a politician, a major opposition leader, a presidential candidate and finally a President.

She remembers that Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo used to come out in his singlet to buy her buffloaf - 'boflot' as it is popularly known.

She remembers trading the buffloaf along with trading smiles with Nana Akufo-Addo. But the man of the people is now the President of the people and presidents need security.

Photo: A front view of the President's Nima residence

It is a need which has left the traders in a new need of a business location as National Security plans to secure the President's residence. About 30 shops can be counted around the President's Nima residence. There is also a well-patronised mechanical shop close by.

All these small businesses and traders have reportedly been paid compensation of varying amount. Some have received 3,000 cedis. But Akosua feels her compensation is meagre.

She said she has received 200 cedis as compensation for her container. The widow says re-locating will destroy her business and cause hardship for her family.

Her son is studying journalism and paying the fees while putting her business back together will be too difficult to bear.

"I am on my knees, I'm begging the President to wipe away my tears," her sobs quickly transiting to tears in an interview with Joy FM.

But political scientist, Prof. Ransford Gyampo does not see why the traders should move away from the president's neighbourhood.

He explained on Joy FM Super Morning Show, Monday, the state had already prepared an official residence for the president inside the Flagstaff House.

It was inaugurated in November 2008 and built with an initial cost of $30million loan from the Indian government and by an Indian construction firm.

But no president has lived in there for the past 10 years. President Mills in 2009 moved to a colonial relic, the Osu Castle which used to be the seat of government.

His predecessor John Mahama preferred to live at Cantonment in the residence meant for Vice-President.

President Nana Akufo-Addo has also refused to relocate from his father's house at Nima.

Prof. Gyampo expressed disappointment that the presidential residence has become a typical example of government waste.

"We tend to waste everything," he complained. He believes the non-usage of the presidential residence is down to suspicion and mistrust between an existing government and an incoming government.

This wastage he said, is also seen at the Local Government Institute where a fleet of cars are rotting away after it was procured some 16 years ago by government.

Professor Gyampo believes the brouhaha over the relocation of the traders and artisans is needless.

"The President must move to live at the Flagstaff is as simple as that," he said.

The political science lecturer said the President's stay at Nima is a source of inconvenience for his old neighbours.

This is because leaving the house to work creates a scene at Nima. Sirens blur, drivers are compelled to drive on the shoulder of the road to make way for the president's noisy exit to work.

The traders must not pay for the president's security when the state has already paid to keep him safe at the Flagstaff House, he critiqued.