Hundreds of residents of four communities in the Ga West Municipal Assembly in the Greater Accra Region Monday morning staged a demonstration to register their displeasure at the deplorable nature of the roads in the area.
The angry demonstrators who were mainly the youth, transport owners, drivers and traders were from Afuaman, Manhean, Nsakina and Oduman.
They blocked the main road that linked Afuaman-Manhean to the Ablekuma- Awoshie road by burning used car tyres.
Some of them were claded in red and they prevented both private and commercial vehicles from moving.
They chanted war songs and called for the Member of Parliament (MP) for Amasaman, Mr Emmanuel Nii Okai Laryea, the Municipal chief Executive (MCE), Mr Clement Nii Willkinson and the Minister of Roads and Transport to fix the road before they incure the wrath of the people.
They said the bad roads have led to the lost of lives of especially sick persons who were being transported to hospitals, pregnant women miscarrying and road users being attacked by criminals who take advantage of the bad roads.
As at 2am the main road in the area and two other link roads were blocked to prevent commuters from moving.
The situation left distressed commuters from the four communities and beyond with no option than to walk to the Ablekuam junction to board vehicles, the journey took about two hours, whilst others were compelled to cancel their trips.
Those with private vehicles had to divert their routes from the main road by resorting to unconventional link roads.
Commercial motor riders popularly known as ‘okada’ had a field day as they took advantage of the operation to transport commuters at a high fee.
However, the okada riders left their passengers stranded at the points where the used car tyres were being burnt as the motorbikes were prevented from going through the blocked roads.
In response to distress calls the police arrived with a team from the Amasaman Fire Service station at about 7am but the angry demonstrators would not badge despite pleas from the police to allow them to put out the fire.
The fire team lead by Station Officer, Mr Lawrence Agyeman managed to put out the fire at one point but the angry youth prevented them from putting out the rest.
At least the inhabitants had set up fire at seven points.
In an interview, Mr Agyeman said the fire team had been called by the Amasaman police to put out the fire from the burning car tyres but ” the people are insisting they will not allow us to put off the fire, the police have called for reinforcement and so we are waiting.”
One of the demonstrators, Nii Ayi Tabon, a taxi driver said residents in the area have been risking their lives commuting on the immotorable road to transact their daily businesses.
He said the bad roads had been causing damage to vehicle ” we have to spend so much on spare parts or spend days at the workshop fixing our cars. For us the men who drive on this road daily it has weakened our waist and our wives are living us.”
A resident who was sported in red T-shirts and armbands, Madam Cecilia Tamakloe indicated that the road was in a deplorable state, making life very difficult for residents.
“My children are not able to go to school any time it rains. I am happy we have embarked on the demonstration to register our displeasure. The people in government must come to our aid, ” she said.
“Pregnant women are having miscarriages because of the bad roads. As a result of the poor state of the roads, a number of transport operators have withdrawn their services.”
As at 9am, the police led by the Amasaman District Police Commanader, Superintendent of Police, Mr Fred Asare Mensah, had tried effortlessly to calm the demonstrators.
The more Mr Mensah tried to address the demonstrators the more they shouted and chanted war songs. And added more tyres to increase the flames.
Later in an interview, Mr Mensah said the residents had a genuine problem as it was their civic right to demonstrate and demand for their basic needs “but they must go by the right procedures.”
He said the demonstrators had been responsible as they had not cause damage to property, or harmed anybody and the police was interested in protecting lives and property.
One of the Zongo chiefs of Manhean, Nii Gamu Ayinuhu said although it should take three seconds for a vehicle driving from Manhean to get Ablekuma Junction it currently takes one hour and 40 minutes because of the deplorable nature of the road.
He said drains have been constructed for more than five years but all efforts to get the road constructed have not yielded the needed results as anytime they residents embark on a demonstration the road is only filled with sand and levelled.
“This time we want the road tarred. We won’t allow them to come and level the road. The bad nature of the roads was negatively impacting their lives and businesses.
‘We are demonstrating to show our displeasure towards the bad nature of the roads. We want the government to come out and explicitly let us know whether funds have been given to any contractor to work on the roads,’ he said.
This is the third time residents of the area have organised a demonstration since 2014 demanding better roads.
The first protest was held on July 21, 2014 and The second was on May 25, 2017. During the second demonstration, three persons were arrested by the police as the demonstrators failed to secure police permit.