Ten houses were Wednesday demolished at Agya Herbal, a neighbourhood of Ofankor in Accra, on the orders of an Accra high court. The intervention of the Member of Parliament (MP) for Trobu, Mr Moses Anim, and the Municipal Chief Executive of the Ga Central Municipality, Mr Aristo Aryee, saved 20 other houses from demolition.
The exercise, which was carried out by the Nii Nikoi Olai We, with the backing of an Accra high court, started at around 6 a.m., during which parts of a number of houses were pulled down.
However, the intervention of the two political heads calmed the situation and owners of the targeted properties were given a two-week relief period to work out an agreement with the landowners.
The lands on which the buildings were situated had been the subject of a protracted litigation between the Nikoi Olai family and one Emmanuel Fradey and others.
When the Daily Graphic team got to the site, quite a sizeable crowd had gathered there, some of them bemoaning their fate while others complained bitterly about the rate of demolitions in the country.
More than 50 police officers from the Regional SWAT team were on hand to provide security for the court bailiffs and also to maintain law and order.
While most of the houses in the hilly community, close to the Rev. John Teye Memorial School, were yet to be completed, others were occupied by caretakers, who watched on helplessly.
Most of the houses earmarked for demolition had the notice, “Remove Nikoi Olai Family” posted on them, together with a telephone number.
The houses marked for demolition, according to some sources, had been built on parcels of land that the family had not sold to the encroachers.
“Some of us bought the land from the Nikoi Olai We in 2000, but another group came claiming ownership of the land around 2009 and threatened demolition. We had to pay again to them. Those of us who were lucky to have documents from the Nikoi Olai people are those whose property had been spared the demolition,” one source said.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic, Asafoatse Kotey Kortey, a member of the Nikoi Olai family, said after years of litigation that ended in 2012, the family had given enough notices to the affected property owners to no avail.
“It is a legitimate demolition backed by the courts and law enforcement body. That means it is legitimate and we are not flouting the law.”
He said the plea from the MP notwithstanding, the family would sit down and take a collective action on what to do.
“Let tomorrow come, we’ll decide what to do. We are demolishing the houses of all those who don’t have documents from us,” he added.
Member of Parliament
Mr Anim said when he heard about the demolition, he called the DCE to find out if it was an order from the assembly and he said no. “So we had to rush here.”
The MP said after the police had shown him the necessary documents, he pleaded with the family heads while the MCE also did same.
He said the way forward would be to meet the residents and let them know the truth and the facts, so that they could meet with the family and have the issues sorted out.