Several structures were on Tuesday demolished at Kawukudi in Accra to pave way for the construction of an office complex for the Ayawaso East Municipal Assembly.
The structures served as homes and shops to some squatters who have lived in the area for decades.
According to the assembly, they first gave an eviction notice as far back as September 2018 when the assembly was created, but the occupants of the land refused to vacate the area.
The assembly in 2019, gave an August 9 deadline for the squatters to vacate their area or lose their properties but that also fell on deaf ears as the squatters refused to leave the area.
Even though the squatters say they were given enough time to vacate the area, they expected the assembly to duly compensate them as they were paying taxes to the assembly and the state.
“We were there this dawn when they came and started demolishing our structures. At the time, a lot of people were asleep. Many of us were confused and left frustrated. Only God can show us where to sleep. We have been here for more than 20 years so we don’t think this can happen to us because we have been paying our land rent.”
One also said: “We are shocked although they told us about the demolition earlier. No timelines were however given. I just came here this morning and saw this happening.”
“I don’t have anything and I do not have anywhere going. They didn’t give us any money,” another affected person said.
The Ayawaso East Municipal Assembly was carved out of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) as one of the 38 newly created and upgraded districts assemblies in 2018.
It currently operates from an old government building at Kanda.
Authorities, however, say the squatters do not deserve any form of compensation as they were duly notified of the demolition exercise two years ago.
The Municipal Engineer, Abdallah Abdul Rahman said the assembly currently does not have the financial means to compensate the affected squatters.
“The land belongs to the government and not squatters. They have encroached on it. We need our space for the office complex to house our staff. We already know we are handicapped. Because we knew we were going to have our office here, that is why we gave them enough notice and that we had no compensation for them.”
The Nima Police Command who supervised today’s exercise described the demolition as peaceful as the squatters did not object to the eviction.
Superintendent Innocent Amemo, who is the Nima Divisional Police Commander said: “The police came this morning with them to assist them with the demolition. So far so good, it went well. To be frank, when we came here we didn’t have any resistance.”