By Patrick Biddah
A group of spare parts traders, known as the National Concerned Spare Parts Dealers Association at Abossey Okai, have urged the government to enter into a contractual agreement with them over the intended relocation to Afienya.
The group, which has been opposing the relocation since the Greater Accra regional Minister, Mr Henry Quartey, mooted the idea last year, said the uncertainties about the relocation can be settled if there is a documented agreement to that effect.
The group argue that an agreement which will spell out the modalities of the relocation plan, will put a lot of doubts to rest in the sense that all the dealers will know whether the relocation will be voluntary or mandatory.
According to the group, they cannot be sure, if they will be ejected forcefully with the help of the police and the military after they have agreed to relocate and was of the view that a signed document between them and government can allay their fears.
Addressing a press conference at Abossey Okai yesterday, a spokesperson for the concerned spare parts dealers, Mr Richard Obeng, further said relocating to Afienya, will not be realistic for them in view of the fact that they own shops at Abossey Okai and do not see the wisdom in leaving their shops behind to access the proposed site at Afienya, which is to be called the West Africa Automotive Hub.
“ We find the whole plan strange in the sense that government should just make the relocation exercise voluntary so that those who will find the place beneficial can readily move”, he noted.
“ It is true AbosseyOkai as we speak is chocked but there are people who do not have approved places to trade and if it is those people who are being targeted for relocation that will be a laudable idea”, he added.
“ There are people from Tema, Spintex, Ashaiman, Dodowa and sometimes Dawhenya to come and trade here at Abossey Okai. These are the people who should be considered for relocation and not me who live nearby and have a shop of my own here “, he stressed.
For him , in the event that they even agree to move they cannot be sure of what will happen a day after that agreement, since the government has the security at their disposal and can forcefully eject them.
The press conference which is the second in a week , followed immediately after the Abossey Okai Spare Parts Dealers Association, held a counter press conference yesterday to throw their support for the relocation.
The Abossey Okai Spare Parts Dealers Association, which is the mother association cited reasons such as bad sanitation, and lack of washrooms in support for the relocation.
The co chairman, Mr Clement Boateng, who addressed the media indicated that majority of the 5,000 members have agreed to move.
But reacting to this claim by Mr Clement Boateng, the spokesperson for the concerned spare parts dealers, Mr Richard Obeng rubbished his claims.
He said Mr Boateng is a tenant at Abossey Okai, who does not have any shop of his own and for such a person who has nothing to loose, it was okay for him to support the relocation.
What seem like a near clash between the two opposing groups, attracted the police who came in to restore peace and order.