The Ayawaso West Municipal Assembly (AWMA) has carried out a demolition exercise to clear containers and other illegal structures erected along the Tema-Accra Motorway.
The exercise, which commenced at about 7a.m on Tuesday saw the assembly’s task force using a bulldozer to clear the structures while police personnel provided security.
Over 200 illegal wooden structures stretching from the Accra end of the tollbooth of the motorway towards Shiashi near the Tetteh Quarshie Interchange, some serving as residential accommodation, garages, vulcanising shops and chop bars, were brought down by the task force.
The Chief Technical Officer of the AWMA, Mr Augustine Okai, who also doubles as the Chief Building Inspector of the assembly, told the Daily Graphic that adequate notice was given to the affected people contrary to the assertion by the displaced persons that they were not notified.
According to him, the last notice served on the squatters was on March 11, 2019, adding that apart from the eviction marking posted on the structures, the assembly officials engaged the community members and advised them on the need to leave the shoulders of the motorway.
Mr Okai said most of the occupants had been there without authorisation and the assembly engaged them to relocate but that advice went unheeded.
The Chief Building Inspector said the exercise became necessary after the squatters ignored the order by the assembly.
He said in order to prevent people from returning to the site, the assembly had put in place measures to regularly monitor activities along the stretch to prevent people from putting up illegal structures there.
In order to prevent their structures from being destroyed, some of the affected persons quickly mobilised trucks to tow their properties to safety while others looked on while their structures were flattened.
Some affected persons condemned the officials for the manner in which the exercise was carried out.
They described it as inhumane, the way in which the officials took them by surprise and prevented them from removing their valuables to safety before razing their structures down.
“You know we are in the rainy season and accommodation is hard to come by in Accra. Where do they want me and my children to sleep tonight? This is so inhumane” said Memuna Issah, a chop bar operator.
Mr David Koomson, a squatter, told the Daily Graphic that he had lived in the slum for seven years, emphasising that he was forced to live there due to challenges in finding accommodation in the city.
According to him, all his savings had been lost in the demolition and indicated that the destruction might affect the livelihood of his family.