The Task Force of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) yesterday clashed with phone sellers at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle, opposite the Vodafone office, in a bid to get them off the pavements.
Pandemonium broke out with everybody running helter-skelter to avoid their wares being seized upon seeing the green uniformed task force members approaching them.
The situation however got out of control when the task force attempted to arrest one of the phone dealers.
Others would not allow the task force to take their colleague away and this resulted into a confrontation in which some of the phone dealers and task force sustained injuries.
According to an eyewitness, the rowdy scene caught the attention of two policemen who were passing by and believing the confrontation could turn bloody, quickly fired a tear gas and a warning shot to disperse the feuding parties.
The eyewitness said the police intervention was timely to avert an explosive situation.
In a chat with the Kokomlemle assembly member, Moses Abor, who was there to assess the situation, he said the brute force which the AMA task force was trying to use to drive the traders away from the pavement was not necessary as more peaceful methods could have been employed to save the situation.
“It is a matter of calling the people for a meeting to discuss the issue fruitfully instead of resorting to violence or force because some of these people have contracted loans to do the business which they are obliged to pay back so they only need a place where they could sell their wares and pay back the money. I don’t think the way AMA is handling the matter is right.”
He accused some members of the task force for extorting money from the phone sellers and allowing them to ply their trade at the very place they are now forcing them to leave. He alleged that members of the task force had collected huge sums of money from some of the Nigerian phone sellers and had allowed them to do business in the AMA yard, right there at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle, exclaiming, “what about us who are Ghanaians, are we not entitled to do business in our own country?”
The assembly member however called on the government to, as a matter of urgency, intervene and settle the matter once and for all for peace to prevail in the area, insisting that if nothing was done about it and it continued, the consequences might be very regrettable.
Some of the phone sellers DAILY GUIDE interacted with said they had been occasionally harassed by the Task Force, who sometimes seized their phones and demanded money from them “and sometimes we don’t get the phones back. In fact we don’t know what to do again,” one of them lamented.
Source: Daily Guide Ghana
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