It has become evident that a fuel station being constructed on a waterway at Mile 7 near Achimota in Accra is owned by a Member of Parliament (MP) of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC).
The filling station, which had virtually been completed, was pulled down by local authorities over no permit and blocking of a waterway.
The NDC MP for Ayawaso East, Nasser Mahama Toure, is said to have started constructing the purportedly unauthorised filling station with franchise from Goil. There is no appropriate permit but it was being constructed with alleged connivance of building inspectors from the Ga West Municipal Assembly at Amasaman.
The MP was given three days to demolish it before a bulldozer was moved to the site by the assembly after he had refused to comply with the order.
In recent times there seems to be a mad rush for the construction of petrol stations among the ruling class, with several of them springing up all over the country, especially in some residential areas in Accra, causing fear and panic.
A couple of weeks ago a gas filling station exploded at Dansoman, roasting some residents before the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), which is responsible for issuing licences for the putting up of fuel stations, sealed off the place.
The NPA recently placed a moratorium on the construction of fresh petrol stations until further notice.
The demolition of the illegal structure at Mile 7 was therefore authorised by the Municipal Chief Executive of Ga West, Sam Attuquaye Quaye, amidst protestations by workers of the MP.
The MCE said he had no plan for the filling station at that site on his table – an indication that staff of the assembly building inspectorate division had compromised themselves and turned blind eyes on the illegal structure.
The MP has since apologised to the MDC for the unruly conduct of his boys.
A woman allegedly stripped herself naked to protest the demolition of fuel station.
The middle-aged woman was joined by 10 able-bodied men to mount a fierce resistance against the demolition exercise.
Workers of the station resisted attempts by the assembly’s taskforce to demolish the structure.
They held the driver of the bulldozer hostage in the middle of the exercise.
A middle-aged man also climbed the roof of the filling station in protest against the demolition.
He refused to come down, despite several attempts by authorities there to convince him to do so.
However, police reinforcement was called to pave way for the exercise and eventually the filling station was pulled down.
Another structure that was affected by the exercise was a washing bay, also in the vicinity.
AMA Destroys a building
According to Mr Attuquaye Quaye, the demolition exercise had become necessary following the floods and the explosion at one of the stations at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle which caused about 200 deaths in Accra on Wednesday.
He said the exercise would move on to parts of Ofankor and Amasaman.
Experts, together with the MCE, have expressed the view that building of houses on waterways is a major cause of flooding in Accra.
But a special assistant to the MP, Ousmanu Guarantee, rejected the MCE’s claim.
‘They are not breaching the procedures of demolition. The structure at the centre of controversy is not on a waterway, not close to a waterway and far away from a waterway,’ he told Joy Fm.
The Minister of Environment, Science and Technology, Mahama Ayariga, says his outfit had begun a nationwide demolition of fuel stations built without permits and those whose owners had violated the terms set out in the permits.
Mr Ayariga said this while touring locations of some fuel stations in Accra.
The minister found out that some fuel stations were surrounded by banks, restaurants, and ATMs, in contravention of the regulations for the building of fuel stations.
At a particular location, a cylinder manufacturing company was sharing a wall with a fuel station.
The minister also decried the situation where some fuel stations had added kitchens to the buildings with set-ups for selling khebab and grilled guinea fowls.
Earlier on Saturday, a massive clean-up and demolition exercise took place at Bukom in central Accra under the auspices of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) Special Taskforce.
It was an effort to protect the people against communicable diseases and social problems in the area.
Alfred Oko Vanderpuije, Accra Metropolitan Chief Executive, who led the exercise with the support of the Ga Traditional Council, cleaned choked gutters to pave way for the free flow of water.
Mr Vanderpuije said the demolition exercise was to remove all unauthorised structures, which contributed to the excessive flooding in Accra leading to about 200 deaths.
He warned that the exercise was not going to be a nine-day wonder, and that it would continue until Accra becomes cleaner.
However, MP for Odododiodioo and Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Nii Lantey Vanderpuye, kicked against the action of the mayor, saying the structures pulled down could not have caused the floods.
By Cephas Larbi
Pix saved in newdaily as Fuel Station & AMA Destroys
Caption: A man on the top of the filling station
Caption 2: Some structures demolished at Bukom
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