THE ACCRA Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) has explained that the delay in handing over the Agbogbloshie market to traders after the two weeks scheduled period of the exercise has been due to interferences from the traders.
City authorities blamed the delay of completion of work on the consistent interferences by traders and a section of female porters (Kayayei).
Addressing the leadership of the traders yesterday, Mr. Stanley Adjiri Blankson, the Mayor of Accra, noted that a section of traders with the help of some men, disconnected the main electricity supply and barricaded the newly constructed area with their activities making it difficult for the contractor to complete the work.
He said the Assembly had received a letter purported to have been written by one of the market queens to various governmental organizations accusing the Assembly of wrongfully taking over the market.
Refuting the allegation, Mr. Blankson said the main reason for closing the market was to give it a facelift or turn it into a modern food hub free of filth.
He expressed disgust about the unfounded allegations being peddled against him and staff of the Assembly because some traders' structures fall within the illegal five metre distance from the drains, and had therefore threatened to hit the streets adding that, it's mandatory on the Assembly to enforce its bye-laws.
Mr. Blankson reiterated that the Assembly was not going to deprive any trader from selling after the completion and called on the traders to desist from raining insults on him and his staff for trying to restore sanity at Agbogbloshie.
He said the Assembly was losing millions of cedis every day due to the inability to complete the works since most of the trucks were hired purposely for the exercise and in terms of revenue generation.
He urged the desperate traders and Trotro drivers to vacate the place for work to be completed on time.
Mr. Blankson noted that the harmful nature of the exercise and the outbreak of cholera in the area were the main sources of worry, hence the traders were asked to vacate the market to ensure smooth progress of work. He further noted that, after the exercise, the AMA would strongly enforce the setting up of a Market Management Committee, which is spelt out in the assembly's bye-laws, to take full responsibility for the market.
He noted that some market queens were demarcating plots to prospective traders knowing very well that such plots fall within the main layout meant for easy access.
Madam Adoley Allotey, market queen and leader of Agbogbloshie Number One Traders Association, on behalf of the various groups at the market, explained that since the inception of the market in 1994, there have not been any major cleanup exercises and it was welcoming news to desilt and fumigate the place.
She said the traders have disorganized the main structures in the market and blocked roads in between the sheds, adding that the market has no information centre making it difficult for messages relating to the exercise to be relayed to the traders.
She explained that the displaying of wares on pavements by shop owners was going on because the owners think they have bought the shop and it is their property hence they could do whatever they wanted to do.
She called for more urinals at the market to check the frequent usage of empty containers by its members.
Madam Adoley pleaded with the Assembly to deal compassionately with them and complete the market as early as possible because they are the bread winners in their various households.
She called on the assembly to help the leadership to create awareness among its members since most traders after paying their market tolls, do not want to partake in any cleanup exercise. Earlier in the day, the Mayor had visited the market to ascertain the progress of work and to call on the traders to pave way for the completion of work.
In an exclusive interview with Mr. Blankson concerning the situation of the traders at the Pedestrian Shopping Mall at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle, he noted that the gate facing the main Kaneshie/Circle road is an emergency gate and therefore could not be opened to the general public.
Touching on the commissioning of the market, he said the city was over with the country's golden jubilee celebration and that upon the return of the President from UK, the market would be officially commissioned.