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Police supervise demolition of Osu Chiefs’ Secretariat

Public Agenda
31 August 2007 | General News

Hordes of police officers whose service numbers were conspicuously missing from their uniforms, on Wednesday, supervised the demolition of the Osu Traditional Council Secretariat, located opposite the Ghana Immigration Service Headquarters in Accra.

The demolition of the recently rehabilitated secretariat, according to the Public Agenda, was carried out without a court order; while occupants of the building were served no notice.

Eyewitnesses told the paper, a police vehicle with registration number GP 1805 bearing the inscription; "Accra Patrol" led an articulator truck with registration number GA 3674 W, carrying a bulldozer with number 32BC, to raze the building.

The paper said like armed robbers, the officers entered the premises of the Council, seized mobile phones of the staff and ordered the demolition of the building, including, properties worth several millions of cedis.

"Around l0am, I heard unusual movement of heavy trucks on our premises so I came out of the office to see what was happening. On my way out I met a police officer who asked me to surrender my phone because they were here to keep the peace. Initially I resisted but upon realizing that he had seized other people's phones I gave mine up," an eyewitness narrated.

According to the eyewitness, the team of policemen, who were armed to the teeth, brought along an electrician who quickly dismantled the electric meter on the premises.

"They also asked some boys to remove some of the things from the Public Relations office. But we could not take anything from the offices of the chiefs because they were locked."

At this point, the eye witness said, the police warned that no one should make a call or talk to anyone, stressing, "We're hear to keep the peace."

In the end "All our things like computers, air-conditioners, files containing documents, etc. have been destroyed."

Another eyewitness said one Thomas Agyare who claimed to be the Chief Building Inspector of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) told the staff of the Council that he was "acting on the orders of the Land Commission."

When they were through with their task, the team were said to have handed over the seized mobile phones to the owners and quickly vanished from the area.

When media men arrived at the scene, authorities of the secretariat and some staff were trying to salvage some property from the rubble while trying to solve the early morning puzzle.

Mr. Mark Ankrah, a consultant to the Osu stool, said the Council was unaware of any warrant empowering the AMA or any other institution to carry out the demolition.

He recalled that not long ago Osu won a court case against Amalgamated Bank who claimed to have acquired the land in question from the Land Commission.

Mr. Ankrah said, "if the other parties are not happy, there are appropriate channels for addressing their grievances. We are very concerned that in present day Ghana this can happen with the full involvement of the police and AMA."

He said before a demolition of this magnitude there ought to be a warrant, as well as a notice, and so the stool would seek answers to the puzzle from the appropriate quarters.

Mr. Samuel Adjieteh, PRO of the Secretariat, also recalled the litigation between the stool and Amalgamated Bank and said based on this the bank is a prime suspect in this gross human rights violation.

Source: Public Agenda

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