23.06.2006 Press Release

6,000 To Lose Houses As KMA Demolishes 2 Settlements

23.06.2006 LISTEN
By Times

OVER 6,000 settlers at the “Abinkyi” and “Abotare” settlements in the Kumasi metropolis are to be evicted and the unauthorized settlements demolished by the end of this month.

The city authorities, Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) have attributed their decision to the belief that unplanned settlements are fast growing into slums with the attendant problem of becoming a den of criminals.

But the settlers are disputing the claim on the grounds that they rather had been able to flush out robbers and other hardened criminals who used the two areas as their hide-outs prior to the creation of the settlements.

The settlers are at a loss to understand why KMA would want to evict them when the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) and the Ghana Railway Company, owners of the two areas had no problems with their presence there.

Mr. Awobgo Nsohbilla and Mr. Oppong Kyekyeku, spokesmen for the settlers told a press conference here on Monday that KMA, has a hidden agenda for the planned eviction.

According to them, “available information indicates that KMA intends allocating portions of the two areas to some private investors for the construction of warehouses and other infrastructure.

“This is where we think the exercise intends to displace us and render us homeless in our own country when even thousands of aliens are given refugee status and catered for with the tax payer's money”, they stated.

“Getting stranded in our own country”, they said “is not the best. It is against this background that we deem the planned eviction as an infringement on our fundamental human rights and have accordingly petitioned the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ).

The settlers held the view that in as much as the city authorities may have the power to execute the planned eviction, natural justice and fairness dictated that it must be handled with a human face.

They therefore appealed to the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II and the Ashanti Regional Minister to prevail on the KMA to suspend the planned eviction exercise until they had been properly re-located.

The KMA in a letter dated April 10, 2006 and addressed to the settlers, said the Metropolitan Security Committee after studying complaints of emergence of slums with the attendant problems in harbouring criminals had decided that all the unauthorized structures resulting in the creation of slums should be cleared or demolished by June 30.