Scrap dealers at the now demolished Agbogbloshie Onion Market say there were treated unfairly by the Greater Accra Minister, Mr Henry Quartey ahead of their removal.
On Thursday, July 1, 2021, the Regional Minister together with security officers stormed the market and forcefully removed traders and structures which were remaining at the Agbogbloshie Onion Market following the expiration of a June 30 deadline given to the traders to relocate to the new Adjin Kotoku Market at Amasaman.
Despite the affected Onion traders eventually moving before the deadline, some scrap metal dealers in the enclave say they had no ample time to prepare to leave the place as they were never informed or engaged about the relocation by the Minister.
Speaking to some of the scrap metal dealers when the security agencies moved in on Thursday, they told Oman Channel that the only form of indication they got before the demolition was an eviction sign post which was erected a week before the deadline.
“It was only a week ago that they erected a sign post that they were going to demolish this place. All along we were told it was the Onion dealers who were going to be evicted, we the scrap dealers had no prior notice. It was just last week that they erected the eviction sign post here and we complained that if we were going to be affected then they should have engaged us also,” a dealer said.
There was reported confrontation between the scrap metal dealers and the security officers leading to the firing of gunshots and teargas during the demolition.
Explaining their side of issues, the dealers said while seeking to express their frustrations to the media during the last minute demolition, the military officers attempted to stop them and that lead to a standoff between them and the military.
“Unlike the Onion traders we were not given any funds to help us relocate and neither were we given a specific place to relocate to. Even when we attempted to air our frustrations to the media in the morning the soldiers kept sacking them that they should not interview us and that brought about the little skirmishes. That was what lead us to burn the tyres, we were only asking to be allowed to be interviewed by the media,” he said.
We heard there was going to be a demolition exercise but our place specifically was not mentioned. We were only told of Sabollai and Agbogbloshie as the places which were going to be affected but they never mentioned that the scrap dealers were part,” a woman also said.
The scrap metal dealers therefore appealed to the government to give them a specific location to relocate to us some of them said their efforts to find a spot at the New Adjin Kotoku Onion Market has been futile.
The relocation of the Agbogbloshie onion market forms part of efforts by the current Greater Accra Regional Minister to decongest major parts of the capital and to also ensure a cleaner Accra.
The Minister has so far received wide public praise and support for his bold steps in addressing some of the issues that has over the years contributed to challenges bordering on sanitation, drainage and congestion in major parts of the capital city.
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Source: Dickson Boadi, Contributor