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Wednesday, January 26, 2022

MPs Probe Adjei Kojo Demolition


The Member of Parliament (MP) for the area, Irene Naa Torshie Addo, who made a statement on the demolition exercise yesterday on the floor of Parliament called on the House to institute immediate investigations into what she described as ‘irresponsible’ demolition.

Members of the Select Committee on Works and Housing would form the core of the Special Committee, with Hon Alban Bagbin being part of the Chairman of the Legal and Constitutional Affairs.

The rest of the members are another former Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, Enoch Teye Mensah and the Chairman of the Select Committee on Lands and Natural Resource, Albert Abongo, a former  Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing under the current National Democratic Congress (NDC) government as well as the ranking member on the Lands and Natural Resources committee, Benito Owusu-Bio.

The MPs in their contribution to the statement bluntly condemned the demolition exercise saying the TDC should have done more consultations and dialogue with property owners on the land to reach an amicable solutions since it was under its nose that those building were put up some 10 years ago.

According to the MP for the area, 500 completed and uncompleted houses were pulled down rendering over 2,000 residents homeless.

“Mr Speaker, if and when a demolition exercise has to be resorted to after all avenues have failed, there are steps that need to be followed such as performing asbestos abatement, removing hazardous or regulated materials, obtaining necessary permits, disconnecting utilities and submitting necessary notifications but when these are not properly followed as in the case of the TDC at Adjei Kojo, the act becomes inhuman and irresponsible,” she said.

The Tema West MP was quick to ask why electricity and water were extended to the place, and why the officials of the TDC charged building permits from private developers who had properties on the land, if indeed the people settled there illegally.

She said the effect of the demolition exercise at Adjei Kojo could not be quantified because it did not only displace thousands of people in their own country, but also shattered the dreams and aspirations of their children.

She, therefore, called on the government to deal drastically with individuals working with TDC whose duty was to ensure that the proper thing was done in order not to get anybody into a mess.

MP for Nadowli/Kaleo, Alban Bagbin, in a contribution blamed the State for shirking its responsibility adding, ‘The State which has the responsibility to provide housing for the populace must rather protect individuals who toil to take up that responsibility upon themselves and build houses which are lifetime properties for their descendants.’

According to him, the Human Rights Watch has consistently identified Ghana as a country where government agencies flagrantly violated the rights of the people by demolishing their houses.

He also said that the laws setting up the TDC and the Tema Metropolitan Assembly were conflicting and must, therefore, be streamlined for better management of property development in the Tema Metropolis.

The Deputy Minority leader, Dominic Nitiwul, said all those who worked in the assemblies and allowed the so-called illegal structures to be developed must be punished.

A victim of the demolition, Francis Ake who works in Parliament told DAILY GUIDE that he acquired a piece of land at the cost of GH¢6,000 in 2010 from the chief of Nungua and took loans from the Standard Chartered Bank and Fidelity Bank to build a four-bedroom house which had been fully furnished, only for it to be demolished.

He, therefore, wants assistance from the government.

The Speaker of Parliament, Rt Hon Edward Doe Adjaho, added that the rampant demolition of houses in the metropolis has become a big issue and that Parliament needs to deal with it with once and for all.

 By Thomas Fosu Jnr

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