The three, Joojo Cobbinah, a JoyNews Producer ( the 2011 Human Rights Defender Award recipient and 2009 GJA Best Health Reporter), his cameraman, Festus Jackson-Davies and the driver Felix Akonnor had gone to Mensah Guinea where displaced residents had been left helpless sleeping in the open.
The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (A.M.A) conducted a demolition exercise on Friday September 5 at the sprawling slum behind the Arts Centre in Accra. The demolition, according to the A.M.A is to make way for the construction of an ultra-modern health facility owned by the Social Security and National Insurance Trust, SSNIT.
The Mayor claims current medical records indicated that majority of cholera patients in the Metropolis came from certain illegal settlements including Mensah Guinea.
The A.M.A is a statement claimed it cited as many as 30 unhygienic drinking spots, “with sexually explicit materials where young women in the community practiced prostitution”.
The community, according to the Statement, “is highly populated by foreign nationals from the West African Sub-Region who are engaged in serious anti-social activities, with as many as six persons occupying a wooden structure the size of a lotto kiosk”.
According to the Mayor, there is no supply of potable water and there are so many persons engaged in the cooking of food sold on the streets of Accra.
This, he labeled, as “a recipe for the spread of communicable and infectious diseases”, expressing fears there may be persons with the deadly Ebola pandemic there, and that if the AMA does not take the necessary measures in removing that community the whole Metropolis and the country would be in danger”.
As follow up to the developing story, Mr. Cobbinah and his crew went to Mensah Guinea around 9pm on Saturday September 6, 2014 to find out how the displaced residents were coping.
The people claim they were given three days’ notice to remove their properties from the community.
Solomon Joojo Cobbinah reported that they were in fear, that the A.M.A security force would visit them at dawn and complete the demolition exercise.
Joojo Cobbinah narrates: “We set out at 9pm to tell the story of the people of Mensah Guinea. Some were already moving out their items. So we walked up through the community to find out how the people were living their lives. Many of the people looked pensive and worried. Some were tired and were resting for the day. On tables, chairs and on any surface they find comfortable. Mothers had their babies strapped at the back while resting. Some were just hanging in there trying to put body and soul together. And of course children were also sleeping”.