Squatters along Muus river, a waterway on the Ofankor highway in Accra, have been given six weeks by the Ga West Municipal Assembly (GWMA), to relocate peacefully or face massive demolition of their structures.
Mr. Samuel Atukwei Quaye, the Municipal Chief Executive of Ga West who issued the ultimatum on Tuesday, said the squatters, who had developed a wood market along the river had used sawdust to block portions of the river’s passageway to expand their operations, thereby causing insanitary conditions for communities living along the Ofankor-Achimota highway.
He said the illegal activities of the squatters had led to a situation where the whole area gets flooded each time there was a heavy rainfall.
Mr. Quaye said, the assembly had held several meetings and consultations with the leadership in the area to impress on its members to relocate to a designated place at Adjen Kotoku, but the squatters had remained adamant.
He said the people had turned the Muus river into a refuse dump, stressing that, they defecated into the river, aside reclaiming portions of the waterway with sawdust which had blocked the smooth flow of waste water in the area.
He said the situation had been compounded with the citing of a gas filling station right in the middle of the wood market, a situation he noted, could cause a major disaster should there be a gas leakage or explosion due to the combustible nature of wood and sawdust.
Mr. Quaye urged the more than 1000 squatters and the owner of the gas filling station to comply with the assembly’s directive and relocate.
He said the assembly was willing to sit down with them to discuss and facilitate their relocation within the six-week period.
Mr. Quaye said the assembly’s position was non-negotiable as it was a proactive step intended to save lives and property.
He disclosed that after the squatters had relocated, the slum which has developed along the Muus river would be demolished and the assembly would dredge the river to check flooding whenever it rains.
Supt. Theodore K. Hlormenu, the Mile 7 District Commander, pledged the full support of the police to the assembly to ensure the peaceful relocation of the squatters.
He said the slum in the area had been a haven for criminals in the country and noted that the decision taken by the assembly would help flush out the criminals from the area.
In an interview with some of the squatters, they admitted they had no permit but pleaded with the government and the assembly to give them between six months and one year to enable them to fully relocate to Adjen Kotoku.
They argued that the six weeks ultimatum was inadequate and that they were skeptical about the viability of the wood market at Adjen Kotoku, and pleaded that, the relocation exercise should be a gradual process.
By Joseph Edu Archison