Francis Asenso-Boakye, the minister of works and housing, has instructed the Ledzokuku Municipal Assembly to immediately halt all building activity being done by some private developers on the Kpeshie Lagoon buffer in Teshie, a suburb of Accra.
The minister gave the order while on a visit to check on the status of ongoing drainage projects in a few flood-prone areas of the city and to evaluate how well the current drainage infrastructure was prepared for this year’s rainy season.
Officials from the Ministry, the Ghana Hydrological Authority, and a few Municipal Assemblies from the Greater Accra area were with him.
Between the municipalities of La Dade-Kotopon and Ledzokuku, the Minister and his colleagues made their first stops to the Kpeshie Lagoon and the River Kordjor buffers, where it was noted that there had been significant encroachment on the areas.
To the dismay of the Minister and his staff, the team discovered that many large construction projects had been carried out at Kpeshie without permission while other projects were moving forward quickly.
The team also saw that along the banks of River Kodjor, there were about 785 illegal buildings that had been designated for removal.
It was learned that private developers, notably Messrs. RA CONGLOMERATE, were carrying out the construction activity without the necessary permits.
As they seek to completely transform the buffer into a community, the developers filled the reserved buffer, which is intended to hold excess water flow during heavy rains.
When asked if they had obtained permission before starting their projects, one of the workers replied in the negative and added that they had not received any notification from the authorities to stop working when they started the projects.
The buffer, which was formerly a lagoon, was designed to hold large amounts of water, according to a representative of the Ghana Hydrological Authority (HDA). As a result, the activities of those erecting illegal structures on it are harmful to the city as a whole because the structures force water to move elsewhere and result in flooding.
The Minister urged the Assembly, whose powers cover illegal constructions, to take the appropriate action to destroy buildings that have been built inside wetlands or along rivers, further endangering the city from the destruction of ongoing flooding.
“It is unfortunate that despite the heavy investment in drainage infrastructure over the years, irresponsible behavior of private developers continues to expose the city, especially in areas, which hitherto, were not noted for flooding”. The Minister stated.
The Minister urged the Municipal and District Assemblies to act quickly to prevent flood-related calamities, particularly as the country waits for the rainy season, and reminded them that the authority to remove unlawful structures was in their hands.
Solomon Kotey Nikoi, the MCE for La Dade Kotopon Municipal, stated that while his organization had been trying its best to stop individuals participating in the act, including making some arrests and confiscating some of the criminals’ equipment, much more needed to be done to completely address the epidemic.
“The Assembly’s efforts to stop the building of illegal structures have become a challenge that needs the urgent intervention of its supervising Ministry. Efforts to stop, demolish, and arrest culprits have been met with assaults by land guards and death threats”, he disclosed.
Asenso Boakye’s remark
He advised that, as was done for the illegal mining threat known as galamsey, the government create a national task force to address the threat of encroachment in wetlands.
Regarding the security issue, the Works and Housing Minister assured that he was prepared to work with his colleagues at the Local Government Ministry to enlist the assistance of the appropriate authorities in order to deal with private developers who were determined to thwart government efforts to address the flooding threat with blatant disregard for the law.
The crew continued their examination and went to Tse Addo, another village in Teshie, where it saw that 14 buildings on the banks of a significant drain there had been designed for demolition.
Amanfro Kingstown in Kasoa, New Bortianor, and other areas in the Ga South Municipality were visited shortly after by the crew, who checked more drains there.
In his concluding remarks, the minister noted that the government had expended significant funds on building new drains and expanding old ones and that it will keep doing more while looking at more options to stop flooding in the city.