THE TIMELY intervention of the Greater Accra Regional Police Commander, ACP Kofi Boakye, prevented what would have been a bloody encounter between a group of aggrieved traders and officials of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), yesterday.
The People's Assembly, held at the Teachers' Hall in Accra, yesterday, was nearly marred when a group of traders and hawkers, numbering about 100, demonstrated against the AMA's inability to relocate them despite the Assembly's promise to do so during its recent massive de-congestion exercise.
The traders, most of whom were clad in red, shouted on top of their voices, calling on the AMA boss, Mr. Stanley Adjiri Blankson, to resign with immediate effect.
According to them, the Assembly has since its decongestion exercise, deprived them of their source of livelihood.
ACP Kofi Boakye, who had just finished answering questions from the floor, was quickly informed about the action of the dissenting traders. He responded by assembling the traders and advising them to use the right approach to solve the problem.
Task force officers of the Assembly, who had earlier attempted to calm down tension, were turned away by the demonstrators. However, they succeeded in preventing them from entering the yard.
One of the traders, who gave her name as Afua, told Daily Guide that an amount of ¢1.2 million, which the Assembly has directed them to pay, was too much, and they could not afford it.
Journalists who were performing their official duties also had their share when a cameraman from TV Africa, was insulted and nearly heckled by an assembly member for taking video shots of the demonstration.
However, the AMA boss told the gathering that, “it is not the responsibility of the Assembly to re-locate hawkers who have been ejected from unapproved places”.
He explained that the Assembly, has out of sympathy, spent close to ¢3 billion to provide sheds for the affected traders, adding that, the Assembly had not abandoned them as being claimed.
Addressing the Assembly earlier, the Greater Accra Regional Minister, Sheikh Ibrahim Cudjoe Quaye, commended the AMA and the Tema Municipal Assembly (TMA), for successfully carrying out decongestion exercises in the two cities.
He however noted that the attendant losses of revenue of traders who used to sell on the streets and pavements, were of concern to the government and that both AMA and TMA, in conjunction with the Regional Co-ordinating Council (RCC), was feverishly and urgently putting plans in place to build new markets, shopping malls, as well as parking lots, so as to ease the pressure in the Commercial Business Districts.
On crime related issues, the Regional Minister lauded the police and the military for their recent swoop on criminals and hardened armed robbers, such as Aryee Aryittey aka Ataa Ayi.
“The arrest of some notorious armed robbers, who have been on police wanted list for a long time, such as Atta Ayi, Mpata, Karim Mohammed and the like, points to the fact that we are making progress in our fight against crime.
“We, on our part, wish to assure you that the Greater Accra Regional Security Council, (REGSEC) has put in place some new strategies to facilitate the work of the police and other security agencies in fighting crime and criminals”, he emphasised.
He, therefore, called for the support of the general public to help in the fight against crime.
Touching on chieftaincy disputes, which he observed have retarded the development of the region, Sheikh Quaye appealed to the various chiefs and their elders to do everything possible in their power to ensure peace in their respective areas.
He also called on estate developers and the public to desist from building on water ways in order to prevent flooding during rainy seasons.
He continued that, “while some of the flooding could be attributed to lack of drains, some can be put down to disregard for by-laws and regulations and indiscriminate disposal of solid waste into drains”.
He appealed to the people to support the NPP Administration, in whatever way, to help in the accelerated development of the country. Contributors were also given the floor to ask questions and contribute to the programme.
Other dignitaries at the function were Hon. Ayikoi Otoo, Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Hon. (Ms) Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, Deputy Minister of Information and MP for Weija, and Ms Gloria Akuffo, Deputy Regional Minister.