Pubdate: Tue, 02 Mar 2004
Source: Accra Daily Mail, The (Ghana)
Copyright: 2004sAccra Daily Mail
Author: Isaac Essel


The Narcotic Control Board is putting up measures to descend on drug 
dealers at Madina Zongo, who are currently sharing the same barracks with 
the Police Service and causing public nuisance.

Mr. Kwame Addo of the Narcotic Control Board told ADM in an interview that 
"what the Board would be doing is to study the area, investigate the 
circumstance and swoop on them especially picking the suppliers."

He said the Board was recently made aware of the existence of this drug 
centre and assured that a mechanism would soon be put in place to deal with 
the problem.

He said the Board from time to time "swoops" on various parts of the 
country where notorious drug dealers and users are. But the problem is 
"when the current ones are swooped, the next day another group comes. This 
is so because those who supply the drug are not arrested when we attack 
them. In this case, the sources should be cut."

Mr. Addo called on the general public to inform the Narcotic Control Board 
of such drug centres. He said anyone caught in possession of drugs, could 
serve a jail sentence of up to10 years. A convicted suspect would get a 
minimum of five years when caught using the drug.

Madina Zongo, where marijuana gangs have taken over was acquired by the 
government from the La Stool Lands in the middle of 20th century under the 
Executive Instrument 20, (!977).

However squatters have taken over the land and have turned the place into a 
marijuana village and a market where boys and girls under ten years are 
usually found openly smoking marijuana and selling as well.

Residents also suspect the land is being used for illegal auto engineering 
that has been dismantling stolen cars. The cars are within 30 minutes 
converted into spare parts.

Almost 3,500 houses at Madina Zongo are without documents and building permits.

The drug centre, which according to a source is one of the biggest 
marijuana zones in Ghana, has over the years been carrying out various 
crimes to both residents and non-residents, with the police occasionally 
have their share!

A policeman told ADM that the marijuana market has reduced since they moved 
into the area. "Infact they are really disturbing us" he said. He narrated 
how marijuana smokers and sellers have harassed some of his colleagues in 
the night when they are returning to their barracks.

ADM has information that the authorities have served notices to the drug 
traders including squatters around the barracks to quit the place but they 
still persist in squatting and breaking the law.

Some residents ADM talked to expressed delight about the plans to quit the 
squatters and the marijuana peddlers so that the place could be occupied by 
the Ghana National Fire Service and the Ghana Police Service.

Below is a quotation from a letter that was sent to the Greater Accra 
Regional Minister last year, summing up activities at the place and calling 
on the government to intervene and bring law and the place.

"Until quite recently the whole area has become a den for thieves, armed 
robbers, prostitutes, market for drug pushers, wee, cocaine and various 
drug addicts and in fact all sorts of crime one can think of. It may 
interest you to know that this office complex is used as a night hotel for 
'short time' business."

The letter continued "the order of the day at the abandoned project site 
are stealing, pilfering and siphoning of building materials such as door, 
window frames, glass louvers, slates, already fitted office air 
conditioners and in fact very conceivable building materials at the site..."
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