I came across a statement released by the Religious Affairs Directorate of the Ghana Police Service signed by one Very Reverend FR. George Arthur under the heading INVITATION OF POLICE MANAGEMENT BOARD (POMAB) MEMBERS TO PRAYER SESSION FOR THE SAFETY AND DIVINE PROTECTION OF POLICE OFFICERS, which got me asking “can citizens of Ghana rise, throw their hands in despair, and start locating churches, mosques and shrines for interventions on their personal security?”
I was greatly troubled that the issue of security in this country, has reached the point where officers charged with the responsibility of protecting lives and property, have themselves, lost hope in the job they have elected to do. This presents a great sense of uncertainty to the ordinary man who wakes up at dawn and leave for work without any arms for self-defense.
It presents a worrying sense of uncertainty to the market woman who returns late from the market, her only source of livelihood, without any means of self-protection.
That officers in uniform today, can start running to organize church services to fortify themselves with divine power and seek protection from their line of duty against death, while the basic tools they require to perform their duties are near unavailability, must be a source of worry for all.
Yes, we all require the spiritual fortifications, we all require a connection with our God, so long as we remain mortals. We require God, the giver of life, to protect us from all adversaries, however, man must do what is within the range of man.
When citizens of a nation queue, as in our case in Ghana, to vote and elect a president to steer their affairs, it is a matter of trust. In that exercise, they trust their choice of president to hold everything in trust and to discharge his or her duties in a manner that would safeguard their lives and protect them from any physical harm resulting from criminal activities.
How did we get here? It is a matter of public knowledge, that in recent times, officers in uniform have been killed in their line of duty without any show of public power to dealing with such acts.
Men in uniform, have become so ordinary and are being attacked on daily basis than ordinary civilians who do not even have any weapons to protect themselves.
From almost every region, over the past few months, reports of the shooting and killing of officers on duty, were reported in the tabloids. A worrying situation that has the potential of sparking fear in the rank and file the Ghanaian society.
It came as no surprise, that in the wake of the recent killing of Inspector Emmanuel Ashlevi while on duty by armed robbers who invaded the police station at Dome, a suburb in the Greater Accra Region, to free their colleagues who were held by the station awaiting trial, the religious unit of the Ghana Police Service has taken to the organization of prayer sessions for divine intervention.
Today, based on actions of government, on issues of crime, involving supporters of the New Patriotic Party (the ruling party), criminals have taken inspiration and are equally visiting mayhem and open vandalism on innocent lives including those of police officers with impunity.
It would be recalled, that several acts of vandalism had occurred over the past 12 months from the seizure of toll booths, toilets, National Health Insurance offices, the beating of a regional security coordinator, to the freeing of members of the Delta Forces standing trial before a court of competent jurisdiction.
As a matter of fact, the few arrests that have been announced, have virtually evaporated without any traces. We have no knowledge of any apprehension and trial of any individuals in that light.
We have gotten here, because, when a rear opportunity was presented to deal with political terrorism by the courts, the result was a massage on the back and a subsequent release of the individuals who should have been used to set a strong example for would-be offenders.
Yes, being mindful of the issues of the independence of the courts, I am also equally aware that judicial decisions are equally subject to criticism by citizens. In that spirit, I have the strongest view, that the punishment to pay Ghc1,800 (which approximates some $380) per head, was a motivation rather than a deterrent.
We have gotten here because, I remember, not too long ago, in a programme organized in Tema, of which government officials were present, and in the full participation of the public, members of the Invisible Forces took the microphone, and warned of mayhem should the government they operated to aid to power, fail to provide them jobs. They did that and were allowed to walk away.
Yes, we got here because, supporters of the ruling party were able to invade police station where their colleagues were held in custody, and freed them. This is an act of impunity and a slap in the face of the law.
Indeed, in many of these instances, video footages were released which captured the faces of the perpetrators, in the end, nothing was heard, no arrests were made, let alone see trial of same.
Indeed, we have arrived here because, moments after the Akufo-Addo-led administration took over power, at the seat of government, the Flagstaff House, members of the Invisible Forces were caught on camera assaulting a police officer, one ASP Nanka Bruce. The video footage was released into the public, and the government, feeling embarrassed, proceeded to issue a statement of apology to the said officer, while the perpetrators were left without any reprimand, an act that can embolden their operations.
What special effort must inform a police officer to arrest and prosecute youth activists of the New Patriotic Party in Atebubu when they visited mayhem on officers of the National Health Insurance Scheme, sacked them from the office and locked up their premises?
What must motivate a police officer to arrest New Patriotic Party supporters who went on rampage and vandalized innocent caterers who were simply rendering services to the School Feeding Programme when a similar act that occurred at the seat of Ghana’s government, went without any attempt at prosecution?
It has become inherent, to call the attention of the President, His Excellency, Nana Akufo-Addo, to this very worrying situation. It is not enough to make claims that citizens should not panic, but there must be a clear show of commitment to the assurances. One death led to the second, the third, the forth, and we are still counting.
The last man must not die before we begin counting our loses. That a whole presidential encounter could be organized without any mention of the worrying security situation, we are in a great danger as citizens.
It is important to drive the point, and forcefully, that, the queuing and voting, as was done in December, 2016, was not the signing of death warrant by citizens, let alone the signing of same by officers in uniform. The people require protection, borne out of strong commitment and investment.
It is not just enough to lament over the embarrassment that your party youth have given you over the past 12 months, without any clear departure from dealing with them as you did with the assault that occurred at your feet at the Flagstaff House.
Sir, we need to see you revive the confidence of the men in uniform which must not result in the organizing of deliverance services. Provide them the facilities they require, equip them, and let them work. Those caught to have fallen foul of the law, show commitment to dealing with them without recourse to the very political colors they are wearing.
Until then, citizens would appear to have no choice, but to take their own security in their hands, now that those who are to watch over them are watching over the night in wait of miracles of protecting.