Market women threaten nude demonstration against AMA

Posted: May 14, 2010 in Agriculture/Poverty

Ghana’s major streets would soon witness an unfriendly spectacle if the AMA does not rescind its decision to eject traders near the Novotel hotel in Accra.

With Sunday, May 16th 2010 as the deadline for them to evacuate from their present location, some market women have threatened to walk naked to the Castle to petition President Mills against unfair treatment being meted out to them by the city mayor, Alfred Nii Lantey Vanderpuije.

“If the AMA goes ahead with its plan, we will march naked to the Castle. We are not afraid of anyone let alone Vanderpuije. President Mills is our father and we believe he will listen to us,” recounted the market women.

Their threat follows a final ejection notice delivered yesterday by some personnel from the Information Service, Accra Metro Department, on behalf of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) to relocate to the Odawna satellite market.

“From Sunday going, no one should come here to sell. Please take note of this announcement because this place is not a market. This announcement is from the AMA,” the information van noted.

But in a sharp rebuttal to the announcement, some market women retorted “yen nkoooh (we won’t leave) Vanderpuije, this is not your land. We have no place to go. We are going to resist any attempt to sack us from this place,” the women charged.

According to the traders, any attempt by the AMA to relocate them to Odawna satellite market will be in vain, saying “the place is too small to accommodate us. We want the AMA to do its homework well before we will relocate.”

One of the traders, Naa Oyo who could not hold her grief noted “I am a mother of four. My husband has passed away and this is where I get my daily bread. Now, you want us to go to Odawna market but I have no money to pay for the sheds. So what do you expert my family to live on?” she queried.

Another trader, Hemietta Naa Sanka Martkor bemoaned how the AMA was handling the issue. To her, since most of them sell on credit basis, the action of the city authorities will result in a lot of them incurring huge losses because “most of our trading partners will run away with our money when they hear this notice.”

She told The Chronicle that another reason for their refusal to relocate to Odawna was that when it rains, the Odaw River overflows its banks and would make selling very difficult for them.

She however appealed to the city authorities to do a proper survey and expand the facilities at the new market before forcing them to relocate.

The over 2,000 traders have earlier resisted attempts by the AMA to relocate based on the same reasons highlighted above.

the traders accused However, they accused one Esi for being the brain behind their woes.

Nana Antwi Boasiako, one of the caretakers of the market alleged that the said Esi  had collected huge sum of money from the traders with a promise to help them acquire sheds at the new market at Odawna but have failed to provide them with sheds .

He also appealed to the city authorities render over four (4) years accounts to the traders for them to know their fate before forcing them to relocate.

Continuing, Nana Antwi said the AMA initially told them that the sheds were for free but unless you are a card bearing member of the market women association hence, their contribution of GH¢55-100 to Madam Esi.

“This woman has been our leader for the past four years. She is our life blood because she is in possession of  all our money. She has been transacting business on our behalf with the AMA. Now she is nowhere to be found. We want her to come and render accounts for us to know how many sheds we can acquire from the money given her. If not, we are not going,” noted Nana Antwi.

Madam Esi is alleged to have burnt most of the traders’ membership card before taking to her heels.

Meanwhile, the Public Relations Officer of the AMA, James Dorgbetor on Joy Fm said the decision to relocate the traders was taken after thorough deliberations by a committee.

He said the AMA has repeatedly treated the issue with a human face but has realized that the traders are taking the AMA for granted.

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