The axe of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) has fallen heavily on a religious body for flouting the bye-laws of the assembly.
Last Wednesday, a combined team of policemen and members of the AMA task force demolished the Fruits of Life Ministry Church building at Bubiashie in Accra for noise nuisance and operating without a permit.
Dr Simpson Anim Boateng, the Director of the Public Health Department of the AMA, told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) that the move was necessary to serve as a deterrent to churches who defied orders to “stop work and produce permit”.
We know that the structure demolished by the AMA is not a big facility, but the size of a facility does not matter if the owner flouted the orders and regulations governing the siting of structures in the city.
The Daily Graphic expects the AMA and other statutory bodies to let the law bite, no matter the personalities or organisations involved.
Some residents of the city are not too sure whether the AMA has always been fair in the exercise of its duties. The perception out there is that the AMA is selective in the enforcement of its bye-laws.
It has very elaborate bye-laws to deal with the challenges of a growing city in order to attain its dream of becoming a Millennium City within the shortest possible time.
The Daily Graphic believes that if the AMA acts with dispatch, as it did in the case of the church building, the siting of unauthorised structures in the city will stop.
Unlike in the past when residents trembled at the sight of AMA officials, especially sanitary inspectors, because of their rigid enforcement of the laws, today nobody cares about maintaining a clean environment.
It is, therefore, common to see choked gutters, refuse dumps overflowing with garbage and livestock such as cattle, goats and sheep struggling for space with human beings and vehicles on the roads in Accra.
It is our hope that the AMA will be able to sustain the momentum of dealing with all residents and organisations that flout its regulations.
Let it not be said that the action against the Fruits and Life Ministry is a nine-day wonder just to placate those agitating for some order in the city.
We shall encourage the AMA to carry out its “cleansing” exercise on both big and small organisations that flout the rules in the city.
The law-abiding residents of Accra expect to live in suburbs where the people will be good neighbours by respecting the bye-laws put in place to ensure that the city is environmentally friendly.
There are many big churches that are equally guilty of the offences for the which the Fruits of Life Ministry is paying a heavy price but only God knows why they have not been sanctioned.
Many residents have long testimonies to give of churches that have made life unbearable for them, particularly in the night and from Friday to Saturday when prayer sessions become jamborees.
These churches have no regard for the rights of residents of the areas where the chapels are located, as they shout and sing in apparent communion with God.
Residents who dare complain are termed anti-Christs who require prayers or deliverance to allow the noise nuisance that is made in apparent reverence to God to continue.
The Daily Graphic will monitor closely the activities of the AMA to ensure that the axe falls on all those who flout the bye-laws, irrespective of their status in society.
All churches and institutions that operate without permit or make excessive noise must suffer the penalty for being bad corporate citizens.