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A group of traders and shop owners, led by Charles Kwarko, Chairman of United Petty Traders at Pedestrian Shopping Mall, has warned the Chief Executive of Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), Alfred Okoe Vanderpuije over his proposed demolition of the market.

Speaking to aggrieved traders who converged to express their dismay at the Mayor’s decision to demolish their shops at the market, Mr. Kwarko said, “We are really disappointed with the Mayor’s unilateral decision. We are legal users of this market as we were allocated this space by the Ex-President John Atta Mills’ government.

“The Urban Roads Authority initially told us that they were planning to construct a road close-by and that our shops and business will not be affected except for minor inconveniences during construction works,” he stated.

Mr. Kwarko, who claimed the members number about 6,000, explained that “all of a sudden, they came to mark our shops for demolition. When we resisted, they went and brought a letter from the AMA. 315 shops owners and 2,500 traders will be affected if the demolition exercise is carried out.

He further added that when the traders demanded the cessation of the exercise or compensation, they were referred to the AMA.

The traders called on the AMA to allow Urban Roads to negotiate and compensate them.

“We are going nowhere as this is our only source of livelihood. We have been here since 2007. We are ready to resist the demolition without sufficient cash compensation or adequate relocation,” he noted.

“We have written to the Mayor and we have consulted our lawyer. We are ready to take the AMA to court,” he added.

Perpetual Asante, the National Woman Organizer for the trader group, who claimed she would lose three shops if they carry out the demolition, called on President John Mahama, the First Lady, Minister of State, Council of Elders and community leaders to come to their aid.

Explaining further, she stated that recently the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the AMA told a popular radio station that the AMA would not back down on its plan and would not compensate anyone.

“We are all ready for a fight if the Mayor refuses to listen and consider our plight. We will not sit and watch him plunge us and our family that depend on us for daily living into miseries. We are duly paying all our taxes and rents,” she insisted.

“We are ready to die. If the bulldozers come to pull down our structures, it must be ready to pull us along, she said angrily.

Adu Boahen, the national spokesperson of the group, noted that when over 700 members met the Mayor, he plainly told them that he would not compensate them.

“My shop has been my only hope and if I lose it, it might spell doom for me, Mercy Takyi, a shop owner, who deals in cosmetics and ladies’ accessories, said.
Source: Desmond O. Okocha

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