Displaced Sodom & Gomorrah residents demonstrate against gov’t

Slum dwellers at Sodom and Gomorrah in Accra’s Central Business District, are up in arms against government over a demolition exercise carried out over the weekend.

The angry crowd in their hundreds comprising youth, women, men and children, wielded placards on Monday chanting war songs on the long stretch of road between the Central Mosque and the slum.

Heavy security force at the scene had a tough time controlling the crowd.

More police officers, fire service personnel and military officers later joined to control the crowd as they turned violent, compelling the police to fire teargas to disperse them.

TV3’s Kwabena Adu-Gyamfi said the crowd later massed up at the precincts of the state house ostensibly to draw the attention of parliament to their plight without knowing the house does not sit on Mondays.

Majority of the over 300,000 slum dwellers who are Muslims, said the AMA could have allowed them to complete the Ramadan fasting before carrying out the demolition, Kwabena Adu-Gyamfi added.

Some of the demonstrators wielded sharp objects and pelted security personnel with stones and other objects.

The dwellers at the slum, majority of who are natives from Ghana’s three northern regions who throng the south in search of greener pastures, are unhappy with the president, a northerner himself for displacing them.

They are demanding compensation for the destruction caused to their structures and personal belongings and are also demanding that Government provides them with temporary structures until they are able to acquire permanent accommodation.

In the absence of the above, they are asking government to make buses available for them to return to their home regions.

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Some of the enlightened residents said it was against international conventions to displace people without making the necessary arrangement for them.

The demonstrators finally dispersed after the police insisted the protest was illegal.

Officials of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly together with some security services ended the demolishing exercise on Saturday at Ghana’s biggest slum.

Hundreds of residents salvaged their belongings as they watched the destruction take place.

The destruction came on the heels of recent rains that resulted in severe flooding, which has brought in its wake the need for city authorities to de-silt choked gutters.

This has been cited as one of the reasons for the demolition of the illegal structures where it was also discovered that electricity had been illegally connected.

Affected residents say they were not given ample notice, but Government has denied the claim. Government says a place had been allocated to the residents at Amasaman but they had refused to relocate.

According to the Greater Accra Regional Minister, Nii Afotey-Agbo, some of the illegal dwellers had gotten sawdust to fill the Lagoon to the extent that they are now putting up concrete structures and not wooden structures, hence the need for de-silting.

By:Ebenezer Afanyi Dadzie/tv3network.com/Ghana