By Gifty Arthur
Children of school going age, have been recruited to operate as toilet cleaners at Town Council Line, a suburb within the Ablekuma Central Constituency of the Greater Accra Region.
The children aged 9-11, though reside in the community, have abandoned their education and are indulging in the business of cleaning human excreta, for money at toilet facilities belonging to the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA).
“The Assembly is now using minors and Indian hemp smokers as caretakers. These wee smokers smoke openly and indiscriminately with the minors around them.
Just recently, these minors were asked to clean the toilet at a fee of Two Ghana Cedis (Ghc2.00) without any protective clothing by your men”, Secretary of the concerned residents, Charles Adade, said in a statement to the Ablekuma Sub Metro Director.
The naïve and underprivileged children are allegedly sub-contracted by some New Patriotic Party (NPP) youth, who were contracted by the Sub-Metro, this year.
The NPP youth, some of whom are from the community, often visit the six public toilets in the sub-metro’s van.
They are responsible for the cleaning of the six toilet facilities dotted in the community also known as Saabo Zongo Estate.
The toilet facilities, constructed by the State Housing Corporation (SHC) over 40 years ago, were first managed by the community,The Herald gathered that some five months ago,they were taken over by the Sub-Metro under the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), who went ahead to give it to the governing NPP’s youth to manage by way of employment.
However, few months after the takeover, the state of the facilities, have worsened and as a result, many of the folks, have refused to patronize them.
No dislodgment has been done since the takeover, leaving the facilities completely full, creating fear there might be a pandemic soon if nothing was done about it.
“Dislodging trucks with feaces, have been left unattended to in the area which have poured, making the whole area smell with flies all over”.
It is not clear, where the rest of the community attend to nature’s call, because individual homes have no private toilet facilities.
This paper was told that patronage has been low, hence the reason the party boys leave the facilities in the care of these young boys to clean and manage.
The NPP managers, who had anticipated a good returns judging from what happens elsewhere, appear disappointed. Some leave and never go back.
It is feared if immediate steps are not taken, there will be outbreak of cholera and other diseases.
Concerned residents say, though the Sub-Metro office is located in the community and a stone throw from one of the toilets, officers there appear unconcerned.
“All our toilets are now infested with maggots and flies. The toilets have been left unattended to, making it overflow with flies flying in and out”, the six point statement said in part.
Fear and anxiety have engulfed residents in the densely populated community and are calling on authorities, including the sub-metro to pay particular attention to the facilities, or better still, return them to the community.
“We the people of Town Council Line, have been molested and bullied threatened with the police and macho men and we are now fed up and are saying enough is enough.
We are therefore giving the Assembly Two (2) days to respond to this letter and call off all its boys from all our toilets to avoid a massive demonstration”, the statement copied to the Assembly man for Laterbiokorshie Electoral Area, Idris Gambo Wangabi concluded.
“They have been in existence for about 40 years now without any politics no NDC, no NPP. We have been managing our own things, cleaning and dislodging them but when these people [NPP] came to power, everything has changed”, one opinion leader told this paper.
The facilities were built together with public bath houses at no cost, because the SHC did not have the luxury to build each in every home because of lack of space. The folks in these areas, have been managing them and pay for their dislodgments and maintenance.