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Anas releases new exposè “Abayee” on AMA guards


Anas releases new exposè “Abayee” on AMA guards

Award winning investigative Journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas has blown the cover of City Guards with the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) who are specialised 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 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 GH¢5 they often collected from owners of seized goods. The guard eventually took Tiger’s GH¢5 and an extra GH¢10 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 GH¢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.

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 GH¢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 Abayee.

Those who are unable to pay either in cash or with some of their goods get their items transferred into a much spacious operation vehicles and transported to the AMA office near Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum.

In some situations, Tiger also posed as a customer or relative to some of these hawkers and negotiated with the Abayee on their behalf for payment of between GH¢10 and GH¢540 to be made to the Abayee and the goods of the hawkers released for them to continue their hawking without further interruptions.

On one of such occasion, the Abayee, who were undertaking their usual goods-seizing expedition, came upon some hawkers selling at unauthorized places. With the hawkers defying the Abayee, the latter only asked the offending hawkers to choose whether they should seize some of the goods and leave the others. The Abayee refused the bribes given them not to seize the goods being sold at the unauthorized spots. They would not budge even when Tiger tried to intervene, rather asking him to come over to Kinbu where they send all the seized goods and where wrap up their daily activities.

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.
There was also an instance where an Abayee furiously threatens to beat the hawker for throwing away a ticket they gave to him as a daily routine in the business center which he, the Abayee, sees to be disrespect. Another Abayee explained to Tiger that every hawker or trader needs to get a ticket every day and license to sell in the streets. This was after a hawker was asked to pay for his ticket fee for the whole week by the Abayee and that of his license as he always dodges when they meet him and ask him to produce his ticket and license. The hawker then pays them GH¢5 as they requested and he also paid for the so-called license but nothing was given to him but rather released his seized goods to him to continue selling in the street.

Also a perfume hawker had his goods and warned by the Abayee who detained him they would go with his goods if he doesn’t give him, the Abayee, the requested money before they decide to leave. The hawker fearing for his goods gives the Abayee a GH¢10 sale he’s made the whole day and was asked to leave before the Abayee operation vehicle arrives.

Again, an Abayee was filmed demanding and taking GH¢2 after some time of pleading and convincing from some cassava sellers on the street who claim another Abayee called Red had already come to take money from them and asked them to stay and sell there as the Abayee won’t be working that day.

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