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A crude demolition exercise took place in some parts of Accra yesterday in the aftermath of last Wednesday’s flood.

In some parts of the city where the exercise took place, there were vitriolic exchanges between agents of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) and house or structure owners.

Interesting arguments ensued thereafter regarding the legality or otherwise of the exercise which had many Ghanaians, especially experts, wading into it, of course with varied opinions.

While some maintain that such demolitions must be backed by law as contained in the local government statute, others think in emergency situations such as the one we find ourselves in, the relevant authority can take action which in its estimation is in the public interest.

Perhaps ordinarily we as laymen are unable to tell whether a particular structure was located at a place legally or otherwise. Surprisingly, however, such structures such as filling stations were put up with the connivance of public officials who in most cases even issued the necessary permits for such constructions to proceed.

In situations where the applicant for permit to build is given the nod after parting with so much money, should such a person suffer the consequences thereof singularly without sharing it with the public official who, as it were, misled him/her?

When we seek to pull down structures because they are not in the public interest, the best thing to do is to turn to the law courts for the necessary backing under the circumstances.

This way the necessary expert opinion as to whether the structures must be maintained or not can be gotten.

The chaotic and kneejerk reactions by government appointees – whose shirking of responsibilities bestowed upon them led to the situations we find ourselves in – can only lead to further trouble.

Organising a demolition gang on the spur of the moment bespeaks of a confused system, a situation beneath our level of development as a country. Invariably, such exercises stop no sooner than they are started. We have been here before.

Orderly management of urban construction by both individuals and corporate entities is the best bet to obviate floods and other repercussions of chaotic developments.

We also noticed the rather crude intervention of an MP during an earlier demolition. He is reported to have asked the demolition gang to stop their action outside Mile 7.

It was glaring that the two government officials locked horns over the demolition exercise which, as it were, was aborted. The drama which led to the stoppage of the operation emits worrying signals. The response to the flood and deaths is as confused as the chaos which victims found themselves in.
Source: Daily Guide

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