An inspection tour of the construction site of the tunnel linking East Legon to the Spintex Road by Minister of Roads and Highways, Mr Kwasi Amoako-Atta, on Monday turned violent when the bodyguard of the minister was forced to fire warning shots to restore order.
The bodyguard fired two gunshots into the air to control the rude and violent behaviour of a heavy-duty equipment dealer and his workers who had occupied the road reservation area on the Spintex side which is impeding construction works on the GHC15 million second tunnel under the motorway.
The incident attracted the East Legon Police to the scene and the dealer and his two employees were arrested and bundled into a police vehicle.
The scuffle came after the Chief Engineer of Sonitra, Mr Feda Natour, had complained to the minister that the presence of 50 heavy duty equipment on the Spintex side of the project was hindering construction work.
Mr Natour, therefore, appealed to the minster to promptly intervene to have the challenge resolved, since all efforts to get the dealer, popularly called Array, to remove the equipment had failed.
In a bid to have the challenge resolved promptly, Mr Amoako-Atta, accompanied by his deputy, Mr Anthony Carbo, and officials of the Ghana Highway Authority (GHA), crossed the motorway to the Spintex Road side where he met the owner of the yellow earth-moving equipment.
During an interaction with the dealer, Mr Amoako-Atta stressed that the project was so important to be disrupted, to the discomfort and inconvenience of motorists and the public.
He reminded him of the many reminders the GHA had sent to him to evacuate his equipment and, therefore, demanded his immediate compliance.
‘I’m a party member’
“A delay can increase the cost of the entire project and prolong the sufferings motorists and passengers endure in heavy traffic,” Mr Amoako- Atta said.
However, the dealer persistently questioned the minister’s moral authority to order the removal of the equipment from the road reservation area.
Rather,he demanded more time to cart the equipment to a new location in Kumasi, which was costly and time-consuming.
Not even appeals by Mr Carbo and officials of the GHA could get Array to calm down and let cool heads prevail.
The dealer told the minister not to describe him as a squatter but a Ghanaian who reserved the right to be offered more time to move out.
He further described himself as a member of the New Patriotic Party and should be treated more humanely.
The minister, however, managed to inspect the progress of work on the tunnel. The first phase, which involves the erection of columns, is progressing steadily.
The minister and his deputy also inspected construction works on the Tema Motorway Roundabout.