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General News of Sunday, 20 June 2021


Traders displaced at Tetteh Quarshie Arts and Craft Centre

The traders have been displaced after a demolition exercise play videoThe traders have been displaced after a demolition exercise

• The oldest art centre in Accra was demolished a few days ago

• The centre had been home to these traders for over 30 years until a court case gave away the land to a new developer

• Without notice and while they still had a case with the Lands Commission, their structures were pulled down

Traders at the Tetteh Quashie Art and Craft which is one of the oldest surviving arts and craft markets in Ghana have been displaced after a demolition exercise there left them

Narrating how everything happened, the Chairman of the Tetteh Quarshie Arts and Craft Center, Todah Frank Selorm, told GhanaWeb in an interview that they had suffered from an unjust demolition exercise by the police and the new owners of the land on which they had been operating on.

He explained that being the oldest surviving arts centre around, they had always operated from that location without any problems until a High Court ruled for a developer to take over the land from them.

"Somewhere last year, the High Court passed judgment and it went against the market. So, the market put in an appeal however, our lawyer filed a stay of execution but then the Appeals Court threw it [out]. So then, on the 8th of January this year, we were here and then the court bailiff, the police and the printing [plaintiff's] company came that they are coming to take possession of the land.

"So we pleaded with them, we told them that it was of a short notice because we've been here for over 30 years without any interference. However, we also consulted with the MP, Hon. Lydia Alhassan to relook into the lease of the land so she led us to Lands [Commission] and then we conducted an official search where we found out that Lands Commission had reserved 1.56 acres of the 7 acres of land here still for the handicraft market," he explained.

Todah Selorm added that after getting an assurance from the Lands Commission that it was reserving a portion of the 7-acre land for them, and without any conclusion on the matter, they received a surprise visit and demolition of their shops.

"So, we applied to Lands Commission for that 1.56 acres to be leased to us which Lands Commission has agreed and have written us a letter; one for the union and one for the District Assembly. So, as I am talking, we are still in the process of acquiring that 1.56 acre, where the District Assembly also promised to develop that place where we will be relocated," he explained.

Following that, he said they re-grouped, put together their little resources and re-constructed their structures only for the new ones to also be pulled down only a few days ago.

Watch the video here: