General News of Monday, 28 May 2018
Squatters at Kawukudi Brigade in Accra are pleading with government for an extension of the one-month ultimatum given them to vacate their current location.
Government intends to prepare the area for the relocation of the Accra Arts Center to make way for the Marine Drive project.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo last year cut sod for the commencement of work on the Project in Accra.
The Project, which is estimated to cost about $1.5 billion, is a public-private partnership project expected to transform the beachfront stretch from the Osu Christianborg Castle to the Arts Centre into a vibrant business and commercial enclave that will transform the city’s skyline, create jobs, spur tourism growth and boost the national economy.
Work so far on the project as observed by TV3 News has gotten very close to the Arts Center putting pressure on the traders to move to their allotted location at Kawukudi Brigade.
But the squatters at Kawukudi Brigade do not seem to be ready as yet to vacate the area. Even though residents admit being engaged on few occasions by government to vacate the area for the relocation of the Arts Center, they are asking for more days.
“We know the land here is not our own but government should exercise patience and give us more time,” Mavis Faarou,a squatter at Kawukudi Brigade, said.
“Most of us are seriously searching for new places but we have not gotten yet,” another resident bemoaned.
Residents were first served notice to relocate two years ago but they say authorities did not come to see to its implementation and it was their hope that they would extend the time for them.
“We took the warning seriously but they did not show up again, so we were thinking that this time they will give us 6 months notice to move,” Andrews Warmer, another squatter, said.
The news team observed the deadline by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) for residents to relocate had expired.
The squatters, some of whom have stayed close to ten years, have, however, been given a grace period up till the end of May to relocate.
Meanwhile, traders at the Accra Arts Center fear not all of them would be accommodated at Kawukudi due to the small land size and are also demanding an assurance that they will get some space in the Marine drive when completed.
“We made this land what it is today, we are not against the Marine Drive Project but government should ensure that we all get shops in the marine drive,” Charles Kofi Appiah, Chairman of Kente Producers Association, said.
The Marine Drive Project has space for an Arts Center but before it is completed, traders will have to make do with a temporary one.