A GNA feature By Miss Anita Sackey (AIJC Intern)
Accra, Aug. 24, GNA - Sahara a sprawling community within Adabraka, in the Osu Klottey Sub- Metro of the Greater Accra Region is gradually degenerating into a slum.
Typical of every unplanned large human settlement, like Sodom and Gomorrah, Sahara is a cluster of wooden structures and other shanties and lacks social amenities.
Sahara is inhabited by all manner of people including social miscreants whose major economic activities are drug peddling and prostitution.
Marijuana is the common narcotic substance that is peddled and smoked openly.
The prostitutes also engage in their brisk business, at open places around the Kwame Nkrumah Circle without inhibition. Sahara is synonymous with criminal activities. Snatching of bags, cell phones and scaling of walls to steal household items are the common complaints of residents.
District Commander at the Adabraka Police Station, Mr P.K. Dugah confirmed the tracked record of Sahara to the Ghana News Agency with cold statistics.
In March 2005 alone, 95 assaults cases and 88 stealing cases were recorded at the Police Station.
Mr Dugah said 13 people were arrested for causing damage, 25 for offensive conduct and four others for threatening. Commenting on the drug peddlers he said the Police carry out periodic raids and prosecute those arrested. He said some of them returned to the business after serving their prison term.
"They come back to do the same illegal deals because that is what their livelihood depends on," Mr Dugah said. He said those who managed to run away during Police clampdowns went back to business as usual within hours.
Mr Dugah dismissed public perception that criminals earn their freedom by bribing the Police, saying it was not true. However, the doubting Thomases interviewed by the GNA were of the notion that the Police colluded with criminals by creating safe havens for them.
Many of the residents who spoke on condition of anonymity said they saw the criminals at the community shortly after every raid, to continue with their nefarious activities.
While the accusations and counter accusations of the Police might continue for a long time, it is only prudent for the public to cooperate with the law enforcement agencies to nip in the bud the rising cases of crime in the country.
The district, municipal and metropolitan assemblies should also liaise with the Department of Town and Country Planning and other relevant agencies to halt the transformation of Ghana into a big slum. The local authorities should take pre-emptive action to stop the development of shantytowns, which normally begins with the erection of kiosks as it has started at the Switchback Road near the new Russian Embassy in Accra.
"A stitch in time saves nine."