Vanderpuije scare hits Abuja residents after fire disaster

Ordinarily, one would expect victims of a fire incident to start counting their losses hours after a disaster, but for residents of the Abuja slum, the fear of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly flattening the remaining makeshift houses is their headache.

They should be worried because the city authorities’ war on slums and unauthorised structures rages on. Following the June 3 twin-disaster – fire and flood – which claimed over 159 lives, the Mayor of Accra, Alfred Oko Vanderpuiye has been ushering bulldozers into illegal structures in the capital.

His unyielding desire to see all unauthorised structures, particularly those sited on waterways, has caused fear and trepidation amongst residents of Abuja, near Kantamanto market. Fire ravaged shops and wooden structures there Tuesday, killing an eight months old baby.

Tuesday’s fire is the second in less than a year in the area.

Joy News’ reporter Latif Iddrisu who visited the scene a day after the incident said some residents have started packing out of the place.

An information van was said to have gone round Wednesday morning warning residents against rebuilding their structures. The slum dwellers claim they have information that the AMA would be moving in to demolish all the structures there.

An opinion leader there summed up the anxiety of the people; “Our main concern right now is the announcement that we heard this morning that Vanderpuije would be coming to this place. That is our main concern. We have been hearing rumours for weeks that he is going to demolish this place.

“And we understand it very well that we are not on waterways so we find it very difficult to understand. Just because of what happened here last night, we feel he just wanted to take advantage of that one…we are worried.”

Meanwhile, the Ghana National Fire Service is recommending the removal of the Abuja slum settlement.

The PRO of the Fire Service Billy Anaglatey told Joy News fighting fire there became a challenge because they could not locate a water hydrant near.

He also fears other businesses close to the slum could be affected in another fire disaster if precautionary measures are not taken.

Story by Ghana | | Isaac Essel | [email protected] | Twitter: @isaacessel

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