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We Must Commend Our Police Service for Having So Far Managed the Armed Robbery Scourge

“If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the many who are rich.” – President JF Kennedy

Over the weekend, I had to meet some tourist friend at the La Palm Hotel. She was development worker who had a successful stint with one of the European Embassies in Accra.

Though she is European through and through, she has the curves of a typical African. So, she came to like and love African wears, besides salivating on local Ghanaian dishes like banku and okro stew, kenkey and fresh fish Made in Tsatsu Tsikata’s Osu Night Market, as well as fufu and tuna- and intestines-rich palm-nut soup.

Yes, and kelewele, roast plantain and groundnuts; or Made in Kumasi sandals, designed like the Afro Moses that PNDC functionaries wore to the USSR to look in vain for funding for the first ERP, after spiking the West and landing with a thud on their backsides.

Well, my ‘white’ friend, who my papa named Naadu because her features looked ET Mensah’s Prampram and Addico We [Family], wanted to know the security situation in Ghana, after 15 years in the cold. She had lost my email and my telephone number, and I had been sad…not because of nokofioo for my two skinny male kids, long completed University, but because she had arranged some development package for “any responsible NGO” as a contribution from a good friend in Belgium.

My first instinct was push that deal to the La youth. Unfortunately, around that same time, feelers I got over their vehement anti-government airwaves seemed to me they already have too much for comfort, including revenue from the La Beach; but also too much of it going irretrievably to the razor-styled anal openings of the proverbial tortoise. That’s the worry of most citizens in Ghana. Abuse, abuse and abuse everywhere we expect sanity and development.

Why security?

More importantly, Naadu Obroni wanted to assess the security situation of Ghana, after 12 years of leaving Ghana. She was planning to bring in an investor to support the tourism sector by setting up an art and craft shop around Shai Hills. She loves monkeys; and told me each time she went to inspect a project her Embassy was funding in the Volta Region, she would stop over at the gates of the Shai Hills Reserve and drop bananas to the poor things. She particularly loved the way the scampered off, after clutching loaves of bread which she additionally offloaded from her pickup, while she took videos of them.

She knew the Labadi Beach and other tourist sites, including Osu RE, like a book. She loved as well Bukom and the James Town environment of naked economic thirst in a vibrant business environment. Then, the drudgery in Nii Lante’s Odododiodioo where, like Agege, people have to put their monies in their panties for safety, even into their beds in that crowded environment.

What she loved most was a story she learnt from her tour guides about La and Teshie being the safest community to live in, in Ghana, because armed robbery is a ‘No,’ ‘No’. she was excited when I told her that the community made history by dealing a blow against armed during Jerry Rawlings’s PNDC era. Rawlings, am told love the La community for that.

That’s why up till today, you hardly find some of these creepy young men wearing beards living and pretending to be working in La or Teshie. In La, you don’t get lost in the crowd. You may steal a homeless chicken or knife a pen-less dog and have fun with jobless youth over marijuana and tramadol; but that’s how far you can go.

Dens

It is a different story when you move upwards to Anyaa, Gbawe, Sowutuom, Weija, Bortanor and deeper into turbulent Kasoa. Occasionally, I chill off at Julikart – not on alcohol or dog meat and marijuana, but my favourite 7UP, with sticks of kebab as dinner and lunch over modest rations of over-60 type B Complex tabs.

Other times, I move up to the Shopping Mall on the stretch to New Weija where others refer to as Bortianor Junction. Bortianor or Weija, the land belongs to the same indigenous community with roots in Nii Lante’s Odododiodioo. There’s a particular pub there that’s purely sub-Saharan, Nigerian and Benin as well as cross border. Smells like a preserve of armed robbery goons and other suspicious characters. People living their lives nights, and sleeping daytime must necessarily attract the attention of police in every tidy society. Kasoa is worse. That’s why the police has a perpetual eye on the communities there.

It is a belt that may be breeding too many scoundrels. Thank God, however, my reading of the situation as a home boy tells me that the whole stretch that used to be criminally-infested is thawing. And for that we must commend the police for its effectiveness, based on its touted visibility philosophy and modus operandi. That helps to effectively manage resources in logistics and personnel; or fuel, ammo and allowances in nooks and crannies what would have been wasted in La and Teshie.

I haven’t told you how the community in the late 80s and early 90s eliminated notorious armed robbers with connections in Zongos, particularly those on the Accra and Ashaiman outskirts. But that’s a story for another day. I believe that’s why Hawa Yakubu decided to pick a personal security (PS) from Labadi. Most PNDC PSs were from La and Teshie. Accomplished police chiefs Nathan Kofi Boakye and Yohounou would admit that, with La and Teshie, the police commands have no problem, because they have strong partnerships there in whistle-blowers.

Because the community is safe and sound, it has a natural advantage as a destination for young students, among other non-middleclass, responsible segments of the population looking for accommodation. Leave your door open mistakenly and you will wake up still secure, because the whistles will not only blow, but push boys out into the open to openly confront the armed robber like Palestinian boys, using just stones as weapons. Little wonder that loony politicians have a challenge infecting the neighbouring communities with their vigilante nonsense. They are one, with Teshie coming from the loins of La some 300 years ago.

I recount a case in which some animal made the mistake of stealing six exotic goats from the Labone-Apapa neighbourhood, but lost his way in his blue Peugeot 504 into a dead end street in ET Mensah’s favourite Mawuli Restaurant on the La-Palm Wine Junction stretch. Within minutes, he had been surrounded with missile throwing youth. I must admit that I had to exit the scene when, after felling him with a barrage of stone missiles, they decided to snuff the demon out of him.

With no immediate police presence, they would find opportunity in quickly looking for an old pestle which they sharpened with intent to drive it down the anal opening of the gasping delinquent.  Just at that point, a local boy Lt Col in a Pinzgauer military vehicle, who was passing through town, got attracted to the drama and had to intervene – with the ostensibly stolen moneys tucked in the back pockets of the culprit, and wax prints tied around his slim waist in death as evidence.

Sustaining the fight

Police have intensified its monitoring of Ashaiman in recent times, after the Ablekuma incident, am told. It has always been the den of armed robbery in Greater Accra. It had been a long journey because of the architecture of the town and the uncooperative nature of the polyglot Ashaiman community – mostly Ewe and Volta, Benin, Northern and cross-border, with everybody minding his own business in a crude drug and prostitution-infested Nungua satellite community and ‘Zongo’.

Assin North and strategies for 2024

The police did very well in managing Assin North. Managing by-elections in our part of the sub-region has always been a turbulent exercise – from Chereponi through Atewa and Bimbilla to turbulent Ayawaso. So, we need to commend them for surmounting the intrigues of the two leading political parties who continue to disdain IPAC engagements and yet hope to exist as political parties. Dog-eat-dog politics that culminate in dog-fights cannot be the sustainable option for Ghana. Similarly, our Parliament and its caucuses must continue to engage. That’s why we put them there and that’s why we pay them. To talk for national profit, and not lie or gripe in front of cameras on preferred networks.

At Ayawaso, like other by-elections, police had to do their without looking at party colours or signs on vehicles of inflated party kingpins. That’s the spirit we must sustain.

So far, so good, except that in 2024, the police should be developing strategies with the IPAC. If the party goons fool and decide not to part, you police are the abiding institution and not transitory fan clubs like the political parties we have today. And, with Election Petitions and gangs of ignoramuses obsessed with playing puppets for nokofioo, we might be seeing Zongo boys and girls, together with demented indigenous Ga youth being paid to dash down to the precincts of the EC and posture on the promptings of shadowy politicians on C50 or C100, our police must let the whole world know how committed they are to the fortunes and stability of the nation, rather than the whims of an opposition or incumbent political party.

You can, however, bet that in La or Teshie, no political vigilante can disturb the processes, even if the police go to sleep on that day. Community safety and social stability is cardinal here. They may be making history for voting ‘by heart’, but we must still commend them for being an example in community security.

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