Armed military and police personnel temporarily took over the offices of the Ashanti Regional Forestry Commission in Kumasi Tuesday to prevent some protesting youth from entering the premises.
The youth who were engaged by government for the Youth Afforestation programme under the Youth Employment Agency (YEA), are protesting delays in the payment of their allowance which they say has been outstanding for the last six months.
Armed police cum military men were called in to the premises to prevent the protesting youth from entering the regional office. The agitation by the youth, the Commission claimed, disrupted their activities.
The main entrance to the premises was put under lock and police armoured vehicle station at the entrance to prevent the beneficiaries from engaging the officials of the Forestry Commission.
Some of the aggrieved beneficiaries told 3News they have worked for six months but their allowances have not been paid.
“We are here today to talk to our bosses, we are not demonstrating so why are they preventing us,” one of them who claimed anonymity explained.
They did not understand why they were “unfairly” being treated by the government, and demanded that their allowances are paid to enable them and their families have enjoyable Christmas.
Some alleged that as part of their engagement terms, they were told government will not be responsible for any accident or injury suffered in line of duty, and that everything is inclusive in the allowance which has now delayed.
The Ashanti Regional Director of the Forestry Commission, Thomas Okyere told our correspondent Antwi Boasiako the action of the aggrieved beneficiaries was worrying because the Commission has been engaging them on the delayed allowance.
“We heard that they are going to have a demonstration so we quickly informed the police and military to come here and protect us,” he explained.
He claimed the Commission owes them four months in arrears which will be paid before Christmas saying, “I hope they will be paid before Christmas. We own them four months not six month,” he said.
Deputy Ashanti regional police commander, Frederick Adu Annim, described their protest as unlawful hence the police intervention to prevent them from disturbing public peace.
He said the protestors failed to notify the Police as required under the country’s Public Order Act.