“Obuasi Nso Yɛ Bu Dan?” Fallout from the OMA’s Demolition of Unauthorized Structures in Obuasi

Obuasi nso y3 bu dan??” to wit “Do we demolish structures in Obuasi”? This was the question an aggrieved woman posed to the Municipal Chief Executive for Obuasi Honorable Elijah Adansi-Bonah and his team during the demolition exercise undertaken by the Municipal Assembly on Tuesday, 1st November 2022.

The level of agitations and resistance that accompanied the removal of temporal structures near Obuasi Senior High Technical school as well as the demolition of a structure at Kokoteasua has been an eye-opener and a major topical issue that has dominated media discussions throughout the week.

The question posed by the woman who had her husband’s structure which has been built at the shoulder of the new road at Kokoteasua, pulled down, raises a lot of questions.

To begin, one may ask is it true that the Assembly has never pulled down any unauthorized structure before??
Or perhaps the Assembly as a result of human face allowed such matters to slide and looked on for such developers to continue or the Assembly has been reneging on its primary duty to ensure sanity in town?

Well, checks at the Obuasi Municipal Physical planning office has revealed that, Assemblies in Ghana acting on Land use and Spatial planning Act 2016( Act 925),Local Government 936 LI 23(84) and Land use and spatial planning regulation 2019, are empowered to oversee physical developments in their jurisdiction.

Local Governance Act (936) explicitly states that even without notice, effect or carry out instant prohibition, abatement, alteration, removal or demolition of an unauthorized development if that breach is creating an environmental nuisance as defined in an enactment relating to the environment or interferes with the use of public right of space.

The key aspect of the Act is ” when such unauthorized development if that breach is creating an environmental nuisance”. This clearly states that the Assembly ordinarily was acting based on the law to pull down the structure which belongs to one Kojo Obeng even without notice.

According to the Municipal Works Engineer, David Agyei the Assembly on numerous occasions petitioned Kojo Obeng to stop putting up the structure but all fell on deaf ears. This however prompted the Assembly to demolish it.
But it is imperative to note that decongestion exercises are rare in the country especially when it has been established that regulatory bodies do not always have the will power or political will to demolish unauthorised structures.

The issue of unauthorized buildings is nothing new, however, it seems to be discussed only when there is a tragedy. After the June 3 floods, the issue of unauthorized buildings was heavily discussed as one of the main causes of the flooding. Indeed, the city authorities commenced a series of building inspection and destruction.

The sprouting of many unauthorised structures in this area is due to high rate of population growth which has caused settlers to develop them. These unauthorized structures come in the form of residential and commercial facilities. These structures are as well haphazardly developed and have caused some social problems such as; fire-outbreaks, flooding, filth, congestion, over-crowding, inadequate motorable routes between residential facilities, and among others.

Now, back to ” Obuasi nso y3 bu dan? “. Suffice it to say, the Assembly acted based on the law but opinions and comments from a section of the public go to show the level of ignorance on the part of the general public on issues concerning where to put up a structure near a public place in this case,a road.
This calls for intensive public education from the Physical planning department on the subject matter. Again, some people have also suggested to the Assembly to cordon off areas considered to be road reservations to ward off encroachers.

Whiles these can be considered by the Assembly, some residents feign ignorance and act with impunity knowing that ” Obuasi y3mmu dan”. Apparently, this has been allowed to fester for a long time resulting in the level of shocks and attacks accompanying the exercise.

I urge the Assemblies in Ghana to allow the laws to work whiles they take time to educate the people on land use and spatial planning issues.

Article by : SMS MEDIA, OBUASI

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