Investigative Journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas has in his latest expose blown the cover of City Guards with the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) who are specialized in taking bribes and extorting money from hawkers in his latest exposé dubbed “Abayee’.
The city guard system was meant to maintain order and make our metropolis, our malls and massive markets more civil and modern. However, by their mercenary manners and dubious modus operandi, the men mandated by the Metropolitan authorities to make the measures work, have rather made things matchlessly murkier and life more meaningless for many a motorist, merchant and major patrons of our many mushrooming markets.
The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) rolled out a very laudable initiative, “Sustainable Smart City” among others to rid the Accra city of chaos, congestions and inordinate buildings and filth by hawkers, traders and other people as one of the means of cleaning up Accra and needed everyone’s effort.
Already existing institutions were enhanced with vehicles and other tools while new reforms such as the Sanitation Metro Guards were instituted to see to the success of the initiative.
Personnel, City Guard (Abayee) and Sanitation Metro Guards (Asamanasaman), mandated to see to the successful realization of the Assembly’s initiatives, have been rather using their power and mandate to extort money and gifts from people who break the assembly’s bye-laws instead of helping to bring them to book. As a result, the nemesis we claim to be fighting, keep staring us in the face all the time.
The City Guards (Abayee) mandated to rid the city of people selling and putting up structures at unauthorized places such as the streets and pedestrian pavements, were on several occasions caught taking money from the very people they are to the police to allow shield them to go about their illegal activities.
There were instances where the Abayee would seize goods from hawkers and ask them to meet them at the place where they wrap up their daily activities, usually, opposite Kinbu, for negotiation and payment in order to retrieve their seized goods.
Tiger posing as a hawker selling slippers in a wheelbarrow had his wheelbarrow and goods seized on several occasions. On one of the occasions, the Abayee that seized the Tiger’s goods demanded more than the GHS =5 they often collected from owners of seized goods. The guard eventually took Tiger’s GHS 5 and an extra GHS10 from another coconut seller and returned their goods to them to go about their activities.
On another occasion, another Abayee, after seizing Tiger’s wheelbarrow and collecting GHS 5 from Tiger, released his goods and allowed him to freely sell in the street with a caution not to get caught by other guards.
Watch the video below:
There was also an incident where an Abayee seized items from a Nigerian hawker at Tudu claiming that he was selling at an authorized place despite repeated warnings to the hawkers. This Abayee later takes GHS 10 from the Nigerian and another GHS 5 from Tiger, in the presence of some of their leaders after which the seized goods were released.
The negotiation to retrieve seized goods could also involve the affected hawker parting with some of the seized goods to the Aba-yee.
Those who are unable to pay either in cash or with some of their goods get their items transferred into a much spacious operation vehicle and transported to the AMA office near Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum.