Metropolitan Assembly, AMA, Gilbert Ankrah has confirmed to GBC News that the fire-ravaged Makola Market Building in Accra would be pulled down on Sunday, August 22, 2021, to make way for another construction.
He however stated that efforts are in place to ensure that the exercise is “event-free’’.
The Seven-Member Committee set up to investigate the fire which ravaged a three-storey building at the Makola market in Accra on Monday, 5th July 2021 has recommended that the structure be demolished. According to the committee’s report, per the structural integrity assessment on the burnt building, it was observed that the structure was weak and compromised, hence must be pulled down.
Chief Executive of the Accra Metropolitan Authority, Mohammed Nii Adjei Sowah, who presented the report disclosed that the 48 Engineers Regiment of the Ghana Armed Forces had been contracted to pull down the building on Sunday, August 22, 2021.
Public Relations Officer of the AMA, Gilbert Ankrah told GBC News in an interview that the decision to pull down the edifice has been accepted by all stakeholders.
“Yes, I can say on authority that the building would be pulled down on Sunday, and this has been accepted by all parties concerned, and per the assessment done on the building.’’
As to what happens in terms of compensation to occupants and whether the AMA is offering occupants any compensation or a makeshift accommodation for them to carry out their trading activities, the PRO stated that,
“Yes, we are having discussions at various levels on this matter, but, as we speak, the building would be pulled down to avert any eventualities and to lessen the burden of the traders.
On what caused the fire, Mr Ankrah said the major finding has been that of a faulty generator.
“As you look at the Committee’s report, the cause of the fire was as a result of some generator that caused the fire. If you look at the committee’s report, individual activities, such as disregard for fire and safety protocols and the improper use of fire extinguishers were cited in the Committee’s report.’’
The AMA PRO disclosed that a comprehensive security architecture would be deployed during the demolition of the ravaged market building.
“Now the Police, the Ghana Armed Forces, Task Force form the AMA among other security arrangements have been done to ensure a safe exercise. Already traders have been informed and are being assisted to salvage what is left of their ware, all in a bid to ensure that there are no casualties. More so, that is why the pull-down of the building has been scheduled for Sunday because during that time the traffic is less.’’
Meanwhile, some traders GBC News spoke to welcomed the demolition of the reconstruction market. While some say the demolition will make the market spacious, others are of the view that the building is already weak, therefore, the sooner it is demolished, the better.
“I support the demolition because the building is very weak.” “The demolition would make the place spacious; they should be fast because that is where we have our livelihoods.” “Business has been slow after the fire outbreak.’’ “It is long overdue; it is scary when it rains.’’ “It is a good decision; we don’t have any choice.’’ “The decision to demolish is a good idea, the building is weak, so we support the idea,’’ some of the traders at the Mokola Market stated.
In a related development, the Ghana Union of Traders Association, GUTA President, Dr Joseph Obeng has lauded the speedy release of the report on the Makola Market Fire incident and expressed hope that the recommendations would be fully implemented to avoid future occurrences.
Dr Obeng however proposed a more structured approach to the building of markets in the country, to allow for a more coordinated approach to dealing with issues about markets, and trading activities within city centres. Besides, he said a more structured approach to constructing markets would help to “eliminate incidents such as perennial fire outbreaks in markets in Ghana’’.