People living along the banks of the Odaw River, Circle, have been given a 48-hour ultimatum to move their makeshift structures without delay or face eviction by the city authorities – Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA).
The directive is to facilitate the on-going dredging works in the Odaw by Dredge Masters Limited (DML), which project spans two years.
Mayor of Accra, Mohammed Adjei Sowah, gave the ultimatum on Wednesday when he conducted an extensive tour of Accra as part of efforts to rid the city of filth, and to also ensure that people are complying with safety protocols of the new coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19).
He visited Circle, Avenor and Graphic Road where he monitored ongoing dredging works in the Odaw and Korle Lagoon, and later went to Teshie and other parts of the city.
He was accompanied by some of his senior officers and the Operations Manager of DML, Sena Kofi Adiepenna.
He described as worrying the situation wherein people are continuously building close to drains of the Odaw.
“This [the dredging works] is done every year, and they [residents along the banks of the river] are fully aware of it. So, we came here to remind them that they are supposed to remove their structures along the banks of the Odaw within the next 48 hours or face eviction by next week,” the mayor directed.
The continuous stay of people along the banks of the Odaw river, he lamented, is making it difficult for DML to get the buffer for their heavy-duty equipment to navigate and carry out dredging works in the river.
He explained that the banks of the Odaw play a multi-purpose role. And aside from facilitating navigation of heady-duty equipment, it also serves as a buffer to allow flood waters to flow freely, he said.
According to Mayor Adjei Sowah, dredging the Odaw River and Korle Lagoon forms part of efforts by the state to rid the capital city of filth and create a healthy environment for residents.
Continuing, he said the deployment of military and police personnel in Accra was to help enforce the environmental sanitation bye-laws.
“So, we go round the city and make sure that wherever we find filth we tell the person to clear it. For failing to do that, our environmental officers will issue summons for you to face prosecution in court,” he added.
Furthermore, he said, his outfit with the support of security agencies is enforcing the wearing of nose masks. This, he averred, is the reason behind the heavy presence of military across the city, who were ensuring that people comply with COVID-19 protocols.
“This is an action that we started about two weeks ago; we are in our third week and we will continue,” he firmly stated.
According to him, prevalence of the COVID-19 epidemic – particularly within the Accra Metro, Madina, LADMA area – is very high.
“And having looked at the data, we are targetting those communities to make sure we cut the spread in those areas, and that is why you see us in Klottey Korley as well within AMA, Madina and then Teshie, LADMA and LEKMA areas,” he revealed.
These areas, he intimated, constitute the main focus for enforcing the ‘wear your nose mask’ instruction.
Mayor Adjei Sowah also revealed that summons have been issued to persons operating at very unhygienic slaughter-houses in Accra.
He said this should serve as a warning to people who have turned their backyards into slaughter facilities.
In this regard, he advised people to use the services of the main slaughter-house in Tema.
“We can’t continue to live in a city like this, whereby people will eat all manner of food that causes problems for their tummy,” he noted.
The Operations Manager of Dredge Masters Limited, Kofi Sena Adiepenna, lamented that the presence of squatters along the banks of the Odaw – including motorbike and bicycle repairers, scrap dealers, cattle rearers – is hampering their work.
These people, he indicated, have become a nuisance and are blocking access for their heavy-duty equipment to carry out dredging work in the Odaw.
He, therefore added his voice to the mayor’s call on the people living along the banks of the Odaw to relocate.