About 500 completed and uncompleted houses have been razed down in a demolition exercise at Joma in the Ga South municipality.
Hundreds more are expected to be demolished in the exercise aimed at saving the Weija Dam from collapse due to the massive encroachment around it.
So far, about 2,000 people have been affected by the exercise, which started Saturday, December 10, this year.
Two hundred of the victims have taken refuge at the palace of the Chief of Joma, Nii Ayittey Noyaatse.
The exercise, being undertaken by the Ga South Municipal Assembly, the Greater Accra Regional Security Council and the National
Security, according to the Greater Accra Regional Minister, Nii Armah Ashietey, had become necessary in view of the extensive encroachment taking place in and around the Weija Water Works catchment area.
Explaining further the rationale for the exercise, Nii Ashietey, who is also the acting Ga South Municipal Chief Executive, said, “The Weija Dam is heavily threatened and something needs to be done about it.”
He said the assembly had sent several warning letters to the residents but they all failed to heed those warnings.
“We cannot compromise the lives of people with politics. If the dam is polluted, it affects everybody. We insist that developers get permits before they begin construction and I believe that if that happens, these demolition exercises will not be necessary,” he stated.
The Weija Dam is a crucial national asset providing potable water for thousands of residents of the central and western parts of Accra.
Nii Noyaatse expressed shock at the demolition, adding that there had been no formal notice on the exercise which was still ongoing as of Monday afternoon.
“They should have notified us, instead of coming to sack people from their homes. The Ga South Municipal Assembly people told us the buildings that are being demolished are on government land,” he said, adding that in spite of that, the residents should have been given a grace period to move.
He said he was currently feeding the people who had taken refuge in his palace, while other displaced people were stranded, not knowing where to go.
Nii Noyaatse said he could not accommodate all those who had sought refuge at his palace, saying that people were sleeping in the open outside the palace.
“For now we would want to appeal to the authorities, since the victims do not have anywhere to go. We know the Weija Dam is an important asset, but giving us some time would have been better,” he said.
Encroachment around the dam has been a major problem for the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) and, in the words of Mr Alban Bagbin, the Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, “In case of a disaster, this whole place stretching up to Hansonic at Dansoman will be flooded, but it will be most severe for those whose houses are so close.”
Other communities around the Weija Water Works include Tomefa, whose main preoccupation is fishing, an activity which often pollutes the water, prompting officials of the GWCL to use more chemicals in treating the water.
As the situation stands now, more structures are expected to be demolished, as encroachment in and around the dam is described as massive.
Meanwhile, some of the affected residents are asking what happens to the government agency that sat aloof and allowed the people to build with impunity. They believe officials of the assembly must be made to face some sanctions.
Source: Naa Lamiley Bentil & Emmanuel Bonney
|Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are those of the writers and do not reflect those of Peacefmonline.com. Peacefmonline.com accepts no responsibility legal or otherwise for their accuracy of content. Please report any inappropriate content to us, and we will evaluate it as a matter of priority.|