Ablekuma Central MP Engages Agbogbloshie Onion Sellers

Several appeals by onion sellers at Agbogbloshie in Accra for the government to give them some time to adequately prepare for their relocation to Adjen Kotoku in the Ga West Municipality have yielded no results. It will be recalled that the Greater Accra Regional Minister, Hon. Henry Quartey on Thursday, May 20, 2021, issued a seven-week ultimatum to onion sellers in Accra to relocate from Agbogbloshie to Adjen Kotoku. But as the deadline approaches, the Minority Members of Parliament intervened on behalf of the onion sellers and called on the President and the Regional Minister to give the traders time to adequately prepare for the relocation. However, the Minister did not heed the plea of the minority.

Upon further deliberations between the Upper East and Greater Accra Regions Parliamentary caucus, the Member of Parliament for Ablekuma Central, Hon Abdul Latif Dan was tasked to engage the traders on the outcome of their meeting with the Regional Minister. Addressing the traders on Saturday, June 26, 2021, Hon. Latif Dan revealed that the regional Minister has refused to heed their plea and therefore advised the traders to prepare and relocate to Adjen Kotoku. He believes all necessary arrangements have been made for their relocation and the Minister has vowed to proceed with the demolition exercise on the scheduled date. The Regional Minister has assured the Minority, the Upper East and Greater Accra caucus that no trader will be left behind to sell at their current location (Sabolai market) after July 1, 2021. Honourable Abdul Latif urged the onion traders to remain calm and not be distracted by the current situation but rather remain focused and united as they prepare to relocate; adding that the earlier they (traders) move to their new location the better to avoid the loss of lives and properties during the demolition exercise by a joint military and police personnel which will be deployed by the Regional Minister on July 1, 2021; therefore, called on the traders to adhere to the directives before the deadline to avoid humiliation from the security personnel who will be deployed on that day.The Regional Minister, during an interaction with MP for Ablekuma Central Constituency, revealed that the Adjen Kotoku market was constructed for the relocation of the onion sellers about 15 years ago; however, all efforts made to relocate the traders failed due to request by the traders to be given enough time.

The onion sellers on their part expressed some concerns about the new market at Adjen Kotoku. Claiming there are plans by the authorities to allocate some stores in the market to certain individuals who are not part of them. Reminding that the current relocation exercise is the third time they are being relocated and therefore called on the Regional Minister to provide them with the necessary documents that will guarantee their permanent stay at their new location. Hon. Abdul Latif Dan debunked that theory and assured them that the Minority MPs will request the data that will include the number of stores and sheds that have be allocated to the onion traders and will ensure that there will be no new faces at the market. All necessary documents from the Municipal Chief Executive will be given to the leadership and an agreement will be signed between the onion sellers and the Municipal Assembly to avoid infiltration by new faces in the future.

On the issue of documentation to avoid future relocation, the MP explained that there is no way an individual or group can own a market but it is the assembly that has the right to own and control it. There will be an agreement for about 100 years and it is renewable the MP proclaimed. The traders were informed that the MP for Builsa North Constituency in the Upper East Region Hon. James Agalga has been tasked to oversee the drafting of a new agreement and any subsequent documentation. Hon. Abdul Latif Dan proceeded to interact with other traders who have also been asked to relocate. They include meat and goat sellers.

The Greater Accra Regional Minister and the Ablekuma Central Municipal Assembly had engaged them only on one occasion where they were ordered to relocate to Adjen Kotoku without being given the opportunity to address their legitimate concerns. Goat and sheep sellers in the market also raised concerns about the new location which includes the distance from the main business centre to the place, poor structures, lack of a slaughterhouse as well as security.
They also lamented over the failure of City authorities to meet them for negotiations contrary to an agreement between them and the government that anytime the government intends to relocate them, there will be an engagement; unfortunately, the government failed to adhere to its promises.

Source: Faisal Mustapha