About 50 structures at the Ritz Junction, an area close to the Madina-Adentan Highway in Accra, were pulled down yesterday during a demolition exercise undertaken by the La Nkwantanang-Madina Municipal Assembly (LANMMA).
They included wooden structures which served as accommodation for squatters and metal container shops.
According to a source at the assembly, the exercise was aimed at clearing illegal structures and halting criminal activities in the area.
The area, which houses scores of people, including some foreign nationals, is alleged to be a hub of suspicious criminal activities such as the sale of illicit drugs, theft and prostitution.
The source further explained that their activities were a threat to residents of the surrounding communities and beyond, and that the action was necessary to check the situation.
It said the decision was taken by the Municipal Security Council (MUSEC) after notices had been served to the squatters.
When the Daily Graphic visited the site around 1:30 p.m. yesterday, some affected victims were seen clearing the remains of their structures and salvaging some of their belongings.
Items destroyed included buckets of paint, clothes, shoes, provisions and toiletries.
The Daily Graphic observed that other illegal structures in the area had not been affected but the source said the exercise would continue in the coming days.
Majority of the victims who spoke to the Daily Graphic claimed that they did not receive prior notice from the assembly concerning the exercise.
A trader who was affected claimed that she was called after the demolition had taken place, and realised on her arrival at the scene that her shop had been demolished.
Others who were around when the exercise was taking place said they asked the demolition squad to spare their items but they would not budge.
Another victim who gave her name as Akua said although she knew of the notice, she was told that her structure would not be affected.
Other victims lamented the loss of property, with some saying they had nowhere to sleep.
The source debunked claims by the victims that notices were not served, saying “we gave them notices from last year, the first in February 2018, the second in November 2018, and a recent one in March this year.”
It said the area was also slowly being turned into a dumping site, making the exercise necessary to keep the area safe and clean.
Asked why other temporary structures were not demolished, the source explained that once the exercise was ongoing the squatters must vacate the area.
The source said it was the assembly’s mandate to ensure that the municipality was safe to live in, and explained further that the move was part of measures to prioritise safety in the municipality.