The Member of Parliament for Adaklu, Kwame Agbodza, has called on the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), to halt the further destruction of Ghana’s old Parliament building.
According to him, Parliament has not been duly informed over the damage being caused to the building.
Four years after fire destroyed portions of the Old Parliament House, portions of the building have been pulled down to pave way for a new one to be constructed.
The demolished building is an old structure that housed the Gold Coast Legislative Assembly from 1951 when Dr. Kwame Nkrumah became the leader of Government Business under British rule.
“This is not the way we should build this country and I’m going to urge Parliament to exercise some jurisdiction on this site so that we can restore this site to its historical value so that posterity will know how our parliament evolved. Maybe Speaker or leadership of Parliament is aware, but as a Member of Parliament and the only architect in the House, I’m not aware, and I think that the people of this country need to know.”
“If you don’t know what you want to build now why are you demolishing the old one? What I’m saying is that, whatever they want to do, they must pause now and do proper consultation…Dr. Kwame Nkrumah is lying just opposite of the road and watching what we are doing and I’m not sure he is happy,” he added.
The Commissioner of CHRAJ, Joseph Whittal, defended the action saying although they failed to secure a permit from the Accra Metropolitan Assembly before pulling down the structure, it was necessary for safeguarding the health and safety of the workers of CHRAJ.
CHRAJ has been accused of usurping the authority of the AMA by proceeding to demolish the building without getting the required permit from the AMA.
But Joseph Whittal told Bernard Avle on the Citi Breakfast Show that, “since the burning in 2013, that section has posed a health hazard,” adding that “indeed every person who works around those places knows that indeed this is unhealthy because we are breathing in the fumes and all those things.”
“The part that is burnt is beyond recovery and so since 2013, we have made efforts to have this taken out. We have informed the AMA, unfortunately, we’ve not had funds, it is only this year that we had funds from the central government to demolish and reconstruct the old Chamber and the adjoining offices,” he added.