STATEMENT ON NATIONAL SECURITY SITUATION BY THE MINORITY IN PARLIAMENT DELIVERED ON FRIDAY MARCH 2ND, 2018 IN PARLIAMENT HOUSE.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Media,
I would like to welcome you to this morning’s press conference on the national security situation which I am sure is of grave concern to you as it does for most Ghanaians.
There are three aspects to the security situation.
First, the activities of militant groups nurtured by the NPP and the threat they pose to law and order and the rule of law.
The second is the spate of attacks on Police personnel and in some cases resulting in deaths.
The third aspect relates to the rampant reports of armed robbery across the length and breadth of the country.
Ladies and gentlemen, you will recall that at the very onset of the Akufo-Addo government, the NDC drew attention to acts of lawlessness perpetrated right under the nose of the NPP administration, a situation which we stated portended danger for law and order and national security as a whole.
Members of the Delta Force, a militant group run and operated by the NPP attacked the Ashanti Regional Security Co-ordinator and when they were arraigned before court, members of the group stormed the courtroom, threatened the judge and freed the suspects.
Right from the word go, the NPP government made it clear that they will do anything and everything to make the matter a “foolish case” (as we say in Ghana). The government employed all manner of legal antics to get the criminal elements off the hook. The NDC warned at that time that the sentence imposed on the members of group was not deterrent enough and would rather encourage lawlessness in the country. Similar situations occurred in the matter of the suspects arrested for the case of the heinous murder of Captain Maxwell Adams Mahama a serving military officer of the Ghana Armed Forces.
Ladies and Gentlemen, even before the Kumasi incident, another NPP vigilante group of hoodlums named Invisible Forces had attacked a senior police officer ASP Nanka Bruce at the Flagstaff House the seat of government. Despite public outcry, the Akufo Addo NPP government turned a blind eye and failed to act and bring the perpetrators to book.
The Invisible Forces engaged in acts of lawlessness at Tema over jobs and got away with it. In July 2017, four (4) members of the Invisible Forces beat up a soldier and police at Abeka La Paz. In November 2017, the Invisible Forces stormed the venue where the Ada East District Chief Executive nominee was being confirmed and snatched ballot boxes and molested assembly members in the presence of armed police officers.
The Invisible Forces have attacked toll collectors at various toll booths across the country, made away with money and valuables and gotten away with the crime.
The same NPP group called Invisible Forces was largely responsible for the Kintampo Waterfalls accident that claimed the lives of about 20, mostly students of Wenkyi Senior High School.
In the wake of the mayhem unleashed by the hoodlums, the NDC called on President Akufo Addo to immediately disband and demobilize the Invisible Forces, Delta Force and other militant groups operating under the NPP. President Akufo Addo could not be bothered and took no action to stem the creeping lawlessness and insecurity.
Instead, the President has rewarded them by integrating many of these criminal elements into national security. In fact we are reliably informed that members of these militant groups have recently undergone training at a camp at Asutsuare belonging to the military. We are further informed that the instructors include two (2) South African mercenaries who were deported from the country in 2016 in the run up to the general elections.
Ladies and gentlemen, the increasing number of Police personnel being killed or molested in the line of duty is unacceptable and requires firm action.
In January this year, police officers sent to arrest a suspect at Kporju near Sawla in the Northern Region were attacked by armed men in the company of the suspect. In January this year, one police Constable Ayoba Sumaila of the Anyinase Marine Police is said to have died under unexplained circumstances. Again in January this year, two Police officers were ambushed and shot dead at Drobonso in the Sekyere Afram Plains in the Ashanti region.
By far the most dastardly of the attacks on Police personnel in recent months was the attack on the Kwabenya Police Station that left one officer dead. Indeed, the attacks and senseless killing of serving police officers have been so incessant the Ghana Police Service arranged for a special prayer session for the safety and divine protection of its personnel.
Meanwhile, in the midst of the tragic killing of Police Inspector Ashilevi at Kwabenya, and as Ghanaians mourned with his wife and five young children, President Akuffo Addo, Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces preferred to be in South Africa to address an audience on his youthful days when he used to visit night clubs in Accra enjoying music, drinks and what have you. It was the height of insensitivity on the part of Mr. President.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the NDC urges the government to do more to ensure protection of Police officers and demand the prosecution of the persons who assaulted ASP Nanka Bruce at the Flagstaff House last year. It will be the clearest sign that President Akufo Addo is genuinely interested in the protection of Police officers in the line of duty.
The third aspect of the grave national security situation has to do with the spate of armed robberies and car snatching. Allow me to highlight a few incidents. Just last Thursday, reports filted in about the snatching of GHS 9,000 from a man at North Industrial Area, here in Accra by robbers.
The day before, a Lebanese employee of a Tema-based, industrial concern, was gunned down in broad day light by four gunmen who bolted with GHS 200,000 the deceased had cashed for some payments.
A day earlier, ten armed men stormed an automobile dealership at the North Industrial Area and carried out a Rambo-style robbery amidst heavy shooting.
In the run up to these incidents, residents of Oyibi had reported close to two-dozen robberies that have made life a fearsome activity in the community.In January alone, over 89 robberies were reported across the country. The serene township of Koforidua which doubles as the capital of the Eastern Region has suffered increasing incidents of armed robbery.
Also in January this year, 4 people were killed in robbery attacks on 6 fuel stations in Tamale alone. In the same month, the Adoato-Adomanu branch of the SDA in the Ashanti Region was attacked by armed robbers during an all-night prayer session.
Last month, armed robbers reportedly tried to snatch a Police vehicle that was on patrol duties around Weija-Kasoa with three of the criminals shot dead.A couple of weeks ago,we read of reports of masked armed robbers mounting a road block on the Ojobi-Gomoa Fetteh road, shooting and stripping passengers naked.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is not just the frequency of armed robberies that is disturbing but more notably the brazen conduct of the criminals.
Ladies and gentlemen, in the run up to the 2016 election, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia promised that if elected Nana Akufo Addo would change Ghana into a different place within one year. This promise has been fulfilled. The new face of Ghana under President Akufo Addo is the heightened sense of lawlessness and general insecurity which has become the lot of the citizenry.
In fact Ghana under President Akufo Addo is not a safe place to be. The President appears to care less about the unlawful activities of pro NPP vigilante groups. He failed to act at the very onset of his administration when a Police officer was assaulted at the Presidency.
In the midst of this extremely frightening security situation, the President prefers to globe trot,rub shoulders with world leaders and deliver speeches of doubtful importance and is yet to utter a word of comfort to scared Ghanaians. It is almost as if Ghana has no leader.
All this is happening at a time when President Akufo Addo has set up the most heavily-populated security architecture comprising a National Security Minister, Minister of State in Charge of National Security, Minister of Interior, Minister of Defence, National Security Advisor, National Security Coordinator, Director of Presidential Security, Inspector General of Police, Chief of Defence Staff, Director of BNI, Director of Defence Intelligence, Director of Research Department among others.
Worsening this situation is the lack of discretion on the part of several appointees.
Presidential Staffers and other appointees of the President have rather sought to mock Ghanaians and heap insults on them on social media and elsewhere because they have complained about feeling insecure.
The arrogance, impunity and the lawless mind-set of the NPP government is even reflected in the manner other appointees conduct themselves. Two examples will suffice. First is the case of the Minister for Fisheries who physically maltreated a civil servant in that Ministry and secondly, a serving public servant who was forcibly ejected from his official residence by some operatives of the President at the Flagstaff House.
Recently, the Upper West Regional Minister was suspended following mayhem visited on personnel of NADMO by thugs belonging to the NPP at the Regional Co-ordinating Council.
This was not the first time thugs of the NPP have acted in such a manner. Ghanaians have questioned the swiftness with which President Akufo Addo acted on the case of the Upper West Regional Minister as compared to other serious incidents where the perpetrators for reasons best known to the President, have been left off the hook.
The NPP thugs operating as militant groups have used the name of the President to intimidate, harass and unleash violence on innocent Ghanaians. Sadly, the President has failed to tackle the menace with the seriousness it deserves. There is a dichotomy in the public stance of President Akufo Addo expressing concern about the spate of lawlessness and his private stance which seems to countenance the recklessness of his militant groups coupled with a lack of seriousness about attacks on Police and general state of insecurity in the country.
It is the expectation of the NDC and all well-meaning Ghanaians that the President will not only denounce acts of indiscipline but also spell out decisive measures to proscribe all of these lawless groups as their existence is akin to domestic terror groups. The rule of law must not give way to the rule of the jungle.
The President must instruct the Attorney General to wrap up pending cases of attacks on Police personnel including the assault of ASP Nanka Bruce. The President must direct the Police Council to review appointments in the Police Service that has weakened the morale of the Police and heightened concern of over-politicisation of certain appointments recently made within the service. The President must put together a bi-partisan group to as a matter of urgency to help the Ghana Police to review the operations with a view to adopting new strategies and technologies to help in stemming the upsurge of criminal activities.
Finally, the President must stop fiddling while Rome burns. He must show leadership by announcing immediately, credible measures aimed at tackling the menace of armed robbery which has assumes very alarming dimensions. He must be willing to dismiss non-performing security appointees and replace them with more competent persons willing and able to do the job.
Insecurity and breakdown of law and order whether real or perceived is not conducive to the good governance and economic development of our country.
The President must lead by example and show seriousness in tackling the situation head-on.
We thank you all for coming to this press conference and hope that as Ghanaians we will all work together for our collective safety and security.