Rabu, 25 Januari 2012


Story: Zainabu Issah

POLICE yesterday prevented squatters whose unauthorised structures were demolished because they were cited close to the railway lines at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle in Accra from embarking on street protest.
The demonstrators, who said they intended to use the protest to project their plight after their structures and properties were destroyed as part of the demolition exercise by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), held cutlasses and  placards.
Wearing red dresses and arm bands, they chanted war songs and shouted “No Vote, no vote, Vanderpuije must go.”  The persistent crowd which stretched from the circle to the railway line.
Explaining why the demonstrators were not allowed, the Head of the Rapid Response Unit (RRU) of the Ghana Police Service, Mr Philip Lamptey, described the demonstration as illegal, hence their decision to prevent the demonstrators from taking to the street.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic, a resident who gave his name as Osei Nsiah said he had been homeless and has been sleeping in the open for the past four days.
In his tattered clothes he explained that all his belongings were burnt to ashes after his structure had been demolished and was prevented from salvaging any of his belongings.
“I have toiled all my life and bought a lot of personal belongings ready to be sent to my family in my hometown but all were lost in the demolition. I am now homeless and what is left of me is what l am wearing,”
Mr Nsiah added that it was unfair on the part government of Ghana to provide housing for refugees from Liberia who have now taken over the country.
“Liberians now own parcels of lands in the country while Ghanaians are suffering because we do not have anywhere to turn to. Our own land has been given to Liberians and they are now enjoying the fruit of peace in this country while we, the citizens, are being thrown out of our homes,” he said.
Mr Osei explained further that the perception that residents at the railway line were criminals and hence needed to be ejected was not true.
He said they worked as any other Ghanaian in this country and also contributed their quota to national development.
“The AMA collects taxes from us when we sell our produce in the market and we also pay rent for staying here. Why then are we being treated as enemies in our own country when we all contribute equally to nation building?” he stressed.
Mr Nsiah, however, made it known that residents would not vote during the December elections and also threatened to smear blood should any political party approach them for support.
“ Since we have been treated as non citizens of this country we will equally exhibit our position during the upcoming elections,” he said.
Another female resident recalling the unfortunate incident in tears said all her belongs have been burnt.
She said, she sustained burns on some parts of her body when she tried to retrieve some of her valuable items during the demolition.
She however pleaded with the government to immediately offer them some support to alleviate their plight.
Resident also threatened to start stealing in the markets if they found it hard to support themselves.


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