A 40-year-old widow, Joana Torkor Ocquaye is struggling to make ends meet after city guards popularly known as ‘Abaye’ seized her wares while she was selling at the Makola market.
According to the widow, she had taken a loan of One Thousand Ghana cedis to ply her trade but lost everything through the incident.
This she indicated complicated her already difficult financial condition.
“The agreement with the loan creditors was that I had to pay Fifty-five Ghana cedis weekly to repay the loan but after my items were seized I was struggling with it,” she told crimecheckghana’s Emelia Agyeibea.
The mother of three said she had to fall on her colleague traders and her aged father before she was able to pay off the loan and also fend for her children.
“Since the incident, I go to the market idle and in the evening when I am coming home, my friends contribute some money for me for my upkeep. If I knew my husband would die, I would have committed suicide because I am suffering,” she said.
Madam Tiokor said the difficulty compelled her elderly son, Emmanuel Olatunde who was studying at the Accra Technical University to drop out whiles the other two children who have graduated from Senior High School struggle to cope with the condition.
“I live with my children at Chorkor and my elderly son has to walk to and from school every day. Worst of it is, he would come back home late and there will be no food for him. Paying his fees was also a challenge. The situation was unbearable so he decided to quit,” she said.
The distressed woman said her sister gave her One Hundred Ghana cedis to start a jewelry business, which only enabled her to cater for herself on a hand-to-mouth basis.
At the time Crime Check Foundation (CCF) visited her, she said she was left with only One Ghana cedis Eighty pesewas, to survive on for the day with her children. “I decided to buy ‘gari’ with the money to feed my children when you arrived,” she said.
CCF with support from one of its Holland-based donors, Linda Owusu, gave her Four Hundred and Fifty Ghana cedis to commemorate her birthday.
Madam Joana fell to the ground weeping uncontrollably as she thanked the Foundation and Linda Owusu.
Decriminalizing Vagrancy Laws and Advocacy (DVLA) project
Crime Check Foundation and the Open Society Initiative for West Africa have partnered to end laws, which criminalize the status of individuals as being poor, homeless, as opposed to specific wrongful acts.
CCF has announced these complaints numbers; 0559544199 / 0507353539 for citizens to report harassment and potential imprisonment under a local assembly bye-law.
By Rudolph Nandi