The Alliance for Accountable Governance has appealed to the Police Service to attach a human face in the conduct of their operations at the scene of last Sunday’s devastating fire at Kantamanto market.

According to AFAG, the traders are still counting their losses after the disaster and the least the police can do for them is to sooth and not to molest them.

The traders clashed with the security personnel on Monday and Tuesday, in a bid to prevent the security from taking over the burnt market. Several of them were arrested but were later released on bail.

“The traders at this stage need conciliatory and placatory words and not discriminatory, intimidating and draconian measures as has been unleashed on the helpless and hapless traders,” according to a release issued by AFAG on Thursday.

AFA bemoaned the “knee jerk reactionary attitude of our city authorities in enforcing our laws to ensure that such occurrences do not recur”.

It said the attitude of the Accra Mayor, Dr. Alfred Okoe Vanderpuje, in dealing with the issues in the city exposes him as a man not worthy of his job as mayor, describing the approach as “heartless, insensitive and wicked”.

“In this regard, we for example want to enquire of the status of the 1993 Makola Market report following a similar occurrence. That Market Report for instance directed city authorities to provide firefighting equipment including early fire detection and warning systems, fire extinguishers, hose reels and landing valves to help detect and facilitate the initial fighting of fires when they break out before the arrival of fire personnel.

“It further recommended that fire posts be constructed in the market or fire wardens made to provide a 24 hour service at the commercial centers to serve as first line defense in case of any fire outbreak. Again, the markets were also required to have adequate exit points to ensure the smooth evacuation and accessibility by emergency workers.

“It is however regrettable, that over 20 years on, city authorities have shown no commitment to the implementation of the recommendations as contained in the report. Rather energies have been directed towards relocation to the neglect of the safety and protection of the investments of the traders. Thus we liken the suggestion of the Accra Mayor to relocate the traders to other Markets with similar defects as just a measure of ‘postponing the funeral of an ailing old woman’.

“We, therefore, call on him to do the most honourable thing by resigning from his post as he has palpably shown gross incompetence in the discharge of his duty as the Mayor of Accra. We also call on the government to as matter of urgency liaise with the traders association in resolving the impasse”.

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