By Duke Nii Amartey Tagoe
Goat Sellers of the “Feo Eyeo Sheep and Goat Sellers Society” at Odawna in Accra, are embittered over attempts by a private transport company to grab a piece of land on which they trade.
The plot of land was allocated to the goat sellers by the office of the Area Civil Engineer of the Ghana Railway Corporation some twenty-two years ago.
In a letter dated 4th July 1994 referenced ACA/E11G/V/187 addressed to the chairperson of the goat sellers society, the Area Civil Engineer asked the goat sellers to arrange to have a structural plan approved by the Area Civil Engineer of the Ghana Railway Corporation.
Subsequently, Feo Eyeo Goat Sellers society was granted a year’s tenancy over the plot of land situated opposite Las Palmas Restaurant at the Neoplan Station considered on license and subject to renewal every year.
On Friday 8th January 2015, a combined team of some police and military personnel raided the market and brutalized the goat sellers arresting one.
Amidst the scuffles more than sixty goats escaped.
“This place was uninhabitable when we arrived here more than forty years ago. We actually had to fill a big crater here with more than 300 trips of sand in order to reclaim the land to set up the Feo Eyeo Goat Sellers Association.
“A few men in the Accra Metropolitan Assembly in connivance with the police are scheming to have this land taken over and handed over to a private transport company in deal we cannot accept” said A.K Ahmed, Chairman of the Association.
Sources within the Accra Metropolitan Assembly have disclosed that Alfred Oko Vanderpuye, Mayor of Acccra, did not order the brutalization of the goat sellers.
Below are statements made by individual goat and sheep sellers as well as other citizens on the development.
Alhaji Awudu Zinda
|Alhaji Awudu Zinda|
“I am shocked and disgusted at what has taken place here since O.A Travel and Tour Transport Company expressed interest in the land we worked tirelessly and developed more than twenty five years ago. I was the one who supervised the work that reclaimed this land by filling a big hole here with more than 300 trips of sand with the help of an excavator in 1994. We took a loan to do that work after we were licensed and granted permission by the Ghana Railway Corporation. We have made huge investments into this place and we do not accept that one person must be allowed to bully us with the support of the A.M.A and by the brutal force of the police and military”
“Two men within the Accra Metropolitan Assembly are giving the Mayor a bad name in spite of the hard work of the Mayor. One of them is Paa of the Holy Garden’s at Circle and Atinga of the AMA sub metro at Bubiashie. They have made millions by reallocating the recent demolished areas to new occupiers. This is not an allegation because we have the evidence that they have taken money and resettled shops along the big gutter behind the Holy Gardens facing the Tip-Toe Lane. What they are doing now is simply trying to find space for the transport company in absolute disregard for the economic consequences of this action on the ordinary people.”
“We have settled here for more than twenty years with the permission of the Ghana Railway Company and we pay the rent charges every year without default. The way and manner in which our market was ransacked was shocking and most unexpected. We have lost many of our sheep as a result of these raids. We buy the animals with loans from the bank so how are we expected to pay back the loan under the given circumstances due to the recklessness of the man the Holy Gardens who is maneuvering his way forcefully to take our land for his business with the transport company.”
|Halidu Musa Abubakar|
Halidu Musa Abubakar
“I have lost 12 sheep and 4 goats as a result of the raids on this place last Friday by the soldiers that were brought here. We are not engaged in any illegal business and that is why we wondered why the attack of the police was done so violently. We are only asking that justice be done in this matter because we are the once that transformed this area and made it livable. We shall not allow a handful of greedy businessmen to drive us into abject misery because we are Ghanaians and deserve to be treated better. We pay our taxes and participate in all national exercises like everyone and that is why we demand to be treated better”
“When we arrived here some sixty years ago, the whole place was not fit for human habitation. This area was a complete forest and underdeveloped. Through hard work, we developed the area and this piece of land with the permission of the Ghana Railway Company because the land legally belonged to them. Feo Eyeo Sheep and Goat Sellers Society was established and we chose that name because of the peace and the excellent relationship that existed between us and the Ga people we met in Accra. Must we be driven out of this place because a transport company needs space to transform his business? Are we also not in business and we are we not Ghanaians too? The poor people must be treated just as the rich man is treated. The O.A Transport Company has taken all the space around here and they want to take this one too. We are not interested in transportation, but we in the trade of goats and sheep and that is how we make a living. This place was a refuse dump and nobody could or wanted to live here. Infact, it was army commander Smith, who when he had witnessed the work we had done here congratulated us expressed satisfaction at the work we had done. Why must a few young men decide on their own volition to cause confusion and drive us into unnecessary pain and suffering?”
“It is very disheartening when you come to realize how the livelihoods of poor people are being destroyed at the whims and caprices of a few people just by their association to the Accra Metropolitan Assembly or a powerful man or woman in government. This kind of thing must stop because it makes the government unpopular. This phenomenon must be checked very early before it gets out of hand because when the people feel the pinch too much, they will react and it can lead to many unexpected and unfortunate situations for everybody.”
“ I am a Ghanaian and very proud of my country, but I am not confused at all that I cannot become a Member of Parliament or an Assembly Man. This is where I make a living and I wonder why they want to drive me away from here and give it to the already rich man so that I can go home and die. If we are unable to take care of our children, our daughters will become prostitutes whilst our sons will be led into all manner of dangerous gangs. We are not thieves and we cannot steal. We are engaged in this trade to make legitimate incomes in order to survive and that is why it is absurd and ridiculous when some recalcitrant elements go behind the Accra Mayor and engage in unlawful activities that will put Alfred Oko Vanderpuye in a very bad light.”
“Please ask Kwesi Pratt to intervene in this matter for us because we are in a helpless position. We have done nothing wrong to warrant this brutal attack by the O.A Transport Company and we demand that justice must prevail in this matter. They may have to bring back the excavator we used in clearing up this place many decades ago to drive us out because we are not moving an inch. We are Ghanaians and must accorded the respect that is humbly given to these so-called businessmen who will cut throat to make their money. Alfred Oko Vanderpuye must open his eyes because the crimes that are being committed in his name by Paa of the Holy Gardens are horrible and disgusting!”