Some 785 buildings and other illegally sited structures along the Kordjor River in the Ledzokuku Municipal Assembly (LeKMA) risk being pulled down for impeding the river’s free flow into the Kpeshie Lagoon.
The situation coupled with encroachment of the Kpeshie Lagoon wetlands by developers has exposed that part of the Greater Accra Region to flooding during heavy rains.
This came to light yesterday, when the Minister of Works and Housing, Francis Asenso-Boakye, accompanied by officials from the Ministry and Ghana Hydrological Authority visited the area as part of site visits in Accra.
The tour was to enable the minister and his team to assess the readiness of drainage infrastructure in some selected assemblies in the Greater Accra Region ahead of the rainy season.
The LeKMA Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), Mordecai Quarshie, briefing the minister on the encroachment of the area said since the inventory was done last year and submitted to the Regional Coordinating Council, warning notices had been issued to them to stop work.
“But some of the developers paint over the notices while others break the structures we write the warning on,” he said and appealed to the ministry to intervene.
On demolition of the structures, Mr Quarshie said the assembly had pulled some of them down but the lack of the equipment to cart away the stones and sand used to fill the area for the illegal construction, remained a challenge.
At the La Dade-Kotopon Municipal Assembly, where part of the Kpeshie Lagoon buffer had been filled for construction, the MCE, Solomon Kotey Nikoi, said efforts to stop the encroachers were becoming life threatening.
According to him, he had received death threats from some of the encroachers while members of his taskforce were being overpowered by thugs employed by the encroachers.
“Yesterday they were threatening me. They said I should ask the family of the late MCE what happened to her. My police escort has been removed so I sleep alone,” he said.
Mr Nikoi said some of the tipper drivers had been arrested and were being processed for court, but the intervention of the ministry and the government was needed.
He, therefore, advocated the setup of a national taskforce to deal with the issue of encroachers.
Interacting with the media after the tour, Mr Asenso-Boakye said aside from the investment the government had done to provide the needed infrastructure, it was the responsibility of the assemblies to prevent encroachment.
He said it was also their responsibility to take measures to demolish structures on water ways as already directed by President Nana Akufo-Addo.
“When it comes to that [demolition] it doesn’t fall under the Ministry. That is the responsibility of the assembly and the oversight ministry in the Ministry of Local Government, but we are ready to provide whatever technical assistance that they need to do that,” he said.
On the security situation involving the encroachers, Mr Asenso-Boakye said the ministry would engage the security authorities, to assist them to carry out their mandate.
He said there was the need for residents of communities to avoid dumping into the drainage to prevent flooding.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR