THINK THROUGH WELL BEFORE YOU ACT ON THE NIMA-MAMOBI PROJECT :
I wish to humbly advice the Works and Housing Ministry headed by Hon. Atta Akyea that the plan to re-develop the twin communities of Nima and Mamobi must be thought through exhaustively devoid off political, religious or ethnic consideration since the country stands to gain massively if the right investments in terms of infrustructure and human development are made in the area.
It must be noted that the Ayawaso Area in general and Nima-Mamobi in particular is a special area with unique traditional and cultural mix that exemplifies unity and peace in those communities and any paradigm shift life changing project to be undertaken must involve the stakeholders effectively to reduce resistance and violence in the area. Any attempt to impose development on a people anywhere is most likely to fail.
The idea to redevelop the communities is a laudable idea but it must not be done to the disadvantage of the residents of the area and cause them to loose their properties and source of livelihood and traditions. The Ministry must take into consideration the multi cultural nature of settlements and it’s uniqueness when planning any development for the area.
Nima-Mamobi has some business advantages that make the twin communities attractive to potential investors. The location of the area which is in the heart of the city of Accra, the huge markets of Nima and Mamobi, the huge youth population and an enterprising business minded communities are great potentials and essential ingredients for development. Founded by Alhaji Futa in the 1920’s , Nima-Mamobi has been one of the most thriving business communities in Ghana.
As a young man growing up in Nima in the 1980s and 1990s , I have witnessed several promises by agents of subsequent governments of massive development for our communities but very little is seen at the end of their tenures of office. We hope this is not one of the statements made for political expediency but real intentions to ensure the transformation of the area.
The Minister should note that the reason why many attempts and plans to develop Nima-Mamobi have failed is because of the disrespect and arrogance displayed towards the community leaders by subsequent government officials who fail to fully engage the people in the planning , developing and implemention of such plans. Sadly Hon. Atta Akyea and the current government seems to be charting the same course and displaying the same disrespectful and arrogant attitude of the past forgetting that the Nima -Mamobi communities have come of age.
Otherwise it baffles my mind that a Minister of state can officially announce such a huge policy that has the potential of displacing a large densely populated communities like Nima and Mamobi without consulting the chiefs and people of the area and not even the political leadership of the area and the Members of parliament. It only smirks of total disregard for the people and it is my humble opinion that the Minister must reverse this and go and start with the ABCs of engagement with the communities.
Another important aspect of this issue is land ownership in the twin communities of Nima -Mamobi. The erroneous impression that property owners in the community have no proper documetations and for that matter the land belongs to the state or the state can take it over anytime must be discarded before any fruitful engagement can take place. Nima-Mamobi is one of the oldest settlements in the capital city of Accra and the rights over ownership of their lands and properties has never been in doubt. Any attempt to denegrade the people with a false impression can only twart the efforts of the government, raise tensions and delay the plans for the development of the area.
It is my believe that the people in the community themselves see the need for facelift of the area but it depends on how it is handled and managed. The Chiefs, youth leaders, the political leaders, Base leaders, leaders of the women folk and even the leaders of the Ghettos must not be left out in the consultation process and let the communities own and feel part of whatever project that is to be undertaken in the area.
The rights of the people must be protected and where necessary adequate compensation must be paid to property owners who may loose their properties in the process. Every effort must be spent to preserve the communities , their way of living, their religions and cultures must be preserved. Residents must be given opportunities to live and own properties in the redeveloped area and to present them with better opportunities for the future.
Finally Mr. Minister show maximum respect and humility in your engagement with the people and ensure that full and exhaustive consultation with the people is achieved and the residents are largely satisfied that their interests are well and adequately catered for in the process before any action is taken. My humble opinion.