Traders at the Tema Community One Market have expressed concern over the prevalence of mentally challenged persons parading the streets and market, causing fear and panic.
Some of the traders told the Ghana News Agency that on several occasions those mentally challenged persons attacked minors, customers, traders and passers-by.
The situation had forced most people, especially school children, to avoid the pavements where some of the mentally ill had pitched camp to prevent being attacked and instead used the streets to compete with vehicles, they said.
Madam Joyce Dambila, a trader, recounted how on three occasions, mentally ill persons had entered her shop to pick items displayed for sale.
“I was traumatised but remained calm to allow them to pick whatever they wanted to avoid being harmed,” she said.
Mrs Mary Sumaila, who deals in food items, said the mentally challenged persons posed a great danger to business activities.
“Sometimes, while you are serving customers, they will suddenly appear to demand to be served some of the items,” she said.
“Normally, the customers would abandon what they were buying upon seeing the lunatics near your shop or food joint. Those who are yet to pay for the items collected also just forget to pay and take to their heels for fear of being attacked.”
“Often the mentally challenged men walk around naked and harassed women. Some on seeing a lady would run after her”.
Mr Frank Pupulampu, mobile phone dealer, said the Tema Metropolitan Assembly was aware of the menace but seemed handicapped in resolving the problem.
“We have appealed to the TMA to help send these persons to the psychiatric hospital for better care and treatment but that has not yielded any results.”
Meanwhile, Mr Frank Asante, the TMA Public Relations Officer, said the Assembly had a department that investigated such cases and that the Social Welfare Department was aware and gathering resources to get them out of the markets and streets.
He appealed to families to get involved in getting treatment for the mentally challenged as many a time they were left unattended by their immediate families.