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16.02.2007 General News

Agbogbloshie Market Closed For Cleaning

By Edmund Mingle and Samuel Nuamah

As planned, the Agbogbloshie market in Accra was temporarily closed down yesterday for cleaning amidst mixed reactions by the traders. While some expressed support for the exercise, others said the two-week closure will affect their businesses as they were not given sufficient time to prepare.

The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) said the exercise will entail demolition of unauthorized structures and desilting of drains in and around the market, one of the largest in Accra to make it congenial for buying and selling.

During a visit yesterday afternoon the Times found the main road to the market blocked to deny access to vehicles, especially trucks bringing foodstuff from up-country.

Owners of unauthorised structures along the road were seen removing them. Others were tidying up their stalls and removing their wares in anticipation of the exercise. Apparently due to the absence of a refuse truck, the traders dumped the rubbish in the middle of the road creating a huge pile of garbage.

There was heavy police presence to provide protection for the work force of the AMA and Zoom Lion, a waste management firm, to undertake the clean up without any hindrance.

An official of the AMA told the 'Times' that the owners of the structures were duly notified. Before the exercise public information vans went round to advise traders to move their wares to pave way for the exercise.

Ayeshetu Klorkor Quaye, market queen of the Agbogbloshie Central number two markets appealed to the AMA to re-locate them temporarily at the fallow land near the International Central Gospel Church untill the exercise was over.

She told the Times that some of the traders had taken loans for their businesses and that the two-week closure was too long.

Other traders expressed doubts as to whether they would be allowed to return after the two-week period, arguing that there had been similar exercises by the assembly to fumigate the market but they were not asked to remove their wares and vacate the area for a while.