More than 50 people have been rendered homeless for the past five days following an eviction exercise at six houses at Taifa in Accra.
Armed policemen and a gang of macho men, led by a bailiff, who is believed to have supported the exercise, ejected the residents and locked up their houses, claiming they had a court order for them to evacuate the buildings.
According to the residents, about 20 policemen, led by one Sergeant E.Takyi, had gone to the area at dawn last Thursday and forced the residents to pack their belongings and leave the premises immediately.
The exercise was-said to have been carried out at the behest of one Madam Felicia Antonia Adofo, who claimed ownership of the area.
The affected residents, who included the landladies of the buildings, old women and children, told the Daily Graphic that they had not been notified before the eviction exercise.
Information gathered by the Daily Graphic indicated that the land on which the buildings were situated had been litigated upon between the landladies of the buildings and Madam Adofo since 1994.
“For the past six days I have been moving from one house to another because I do not have a place to stay with my family. I still have one more year to stay in that apartment and I do not have money to rent another place,” one of the victims, Nana Gyamea, lamented.
“We were not even given the chance to demand answers because they had guns staring us in the face,” she added.
When the Daily Graphic visited the area on Sunday, the houses had been locked with padlocks, while some of
the tenants were seen around, hoping that the doors would be opened anytime soon.
Most of the victims are currently housed by neighbours in the area, while others are perching with family and friends.
A 74-year-old woman who is the landlady of one of the buildings, Maame Konadu, explained that the land dispute had been in court since 1994, after Madam Adofo had demolished some buildings and claimed that land.
She said the case was not settled after the last court hearing in 2010, adding that the lawyer who was handling the case died along the line and nothing had been said about it since then.
According to her, the land was bought, processed and published in the newspaper for anyone who had anything against it to come forward but nobody did so.
“The police and the gang pounced on us, and as old as I am, they carried me out and pushed me onto a chair, an action which has affected an operation I recently had. A neighbour offered a place in her house where I am currently staying with some of my family members,” Maame Konadu said, crying.
Her situation was not different from that of Madam Grace Asuamah, 66, who had her four-bedroom house pulled down by Madam Adofo some years ago.
“I have genuine land papers and we are ready to go to the court to pursue the case to know who the real owners are ” she said.
In an interview, Madam Adofo, a retired teacher, said she acquired the land 47 years ago and she had been fighting encroachment and litigation ever since.
“In the last two years, we have been serving them with notices to evacuate the land but nobody paid heed to it. The court has also invited them but they refused to appear.
“I am going to pull their buildings down and give the land to my children who will do whatever development they want to do on it.
“I retired 11 years ago and I have become a pauper because of this land litigation on which I have spent a lot of j money and finally I have got my | property back,” she said.
The tenants appealed to the government to intervene in the issue and open the buildings up for the occupants, so that the case could be I settled in a court of law.
When the police were contacted, the Head of the Accra Regional Alpha Special Weapons and Tactics Unit, Superintendent Theo Hlormenu, said the police had a court order and, therefore, followed orders.
He said the order tasked the police to provide security and peace during the execution of the court order on a date agreed on between the bailiff and the police.
“The mandate of the police was to maintain peace and order to avoid a breach of the peace and that is exactly what we did,” he stated.