Squatters and mechanics have virtually taken over the frontage of the Awudome Cemetery in Accra, turning it into a place for business activities.
The serenity associated with cemeteries is absent at Awudome as the activities of automechanics, car sprayers, motor cycle repairers have become sources of noise, disturbing the souls of the mortals buried at the place.
Lack of space for business and high rents within Accra are partly responsible for the action of sellers of sachet water, roasted plantain and other basic commodities and food items and mechanics to turn the vast space at the cemetery into other uses.
A visit to the cemetery by the Daily Graphic in Accra Monday revealed vigorous business activity at the frontage of the cemetery while portions of the the inside looked unkept and overgrown with weeds.
What is more disturbing is that portions of the cemetery have been turned into refuse dumps and heaps of rubbish was mounting along some sections of the walls fencing the facility.
While mechanics and sellers have turned the place into a market, others use the graves as places for relaxation and some criminals use the place a safe haven.
A mechanic, who gave his name only as David said he had been operating at the site for more than a decade since he could not afford exorbitant rent charges at various locations.
According to him although he and others operating from the area had no permit from the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), officials often made frequent visits to the place to demand payments from them.
Similarly, people who claimed to be members of the Ga Traditional Council, he said also frequented the place to demand payments between GH¢30 to GH¢100 for occupying the frontage of the cemetry.
Producing a letter to substantiate his claims, David said the Ga Mantse Ankrah Family who had also laid claim to the portion of the cemetery, had tasked the leadership of the operators at the cemetry, to produce documents to validate their stay there or quit the property in seven days.
The Chief Executive of AMA, Mr Alfred Varderpuije, however, said the AMA had issued several quit notices to the squatters and was, therefore, surprise they still occupied the place.
He also denied that the site occupied by the squatters belong to the traditional council and said the assembly would as a matter of urgency moved in to eject them.
Source: Daily Graphic
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