The news story on which the present column is based is four months old. But the contents of the story are still relevant, which is precisely why I have kept it on file for so long in order to discursively share the same with you. The story is captioned “Bullion Van Robbery: ‘We’ll Definitely Get the Perpetrators – IGP Assures Constable Emmanuel Osei’s Family” (Modernghana.com 6/15/21). As it is with the case of most Ghanaian media news headlines, this one did not fully capture the gravity of the contents of the same, which had to do with the brutal gunning down of a bullion van police escort by the name of Constable Emmanuel Osei in the Jamestown neighborhood of Ghana’s capital city of Accra. I decided to give this column the title of “Prevention Is Better Than Apprehension,” because apprehension is what the leadership and the personnel or the men and women of the Ghana Police Service (GPS) have been doing ever since I or anybody that I know has been keeping watch and count.
The problem with “apprehension” or “after-the-fact” policing is that it brings little consolation to the relatives, friends, colleagues and kinsfolk of the victims of such savage and senseless killings. “Little consolation” because even in cases where the perpetrators of these horrific acts of deadly armed robberies are apprehended or arrested, the wasted lives of the victims are not restored, for they cannot be restored. Even worse, where these poorly paid victims were either the major or sole breadwinners of their families, often consisting of several children and extended family members or relatives, the bereaved are almost invariably not adequately compensated to make up for their catastrophic and often apocalyptic and traumatic loss. Even more significant to underscore is the fact that even where the criminal perpetrators are arrested, the judicial process takes so unduly long as to dampen the hopes of the bereaved for swift and meaningful justice.
I decided to comment on the afore-referenced news story because the newly named Inspector-General of the Ghana Police Service (IGP), Dr. George Akuffo-Dampare, well appears to be poised to prioritizing crime prevention as opposed to aggressive apprehension which, by the way, in certain circumstances, is the best method to deploy. Now, when the news article under discussion was first published, the Inspector-General of Police was called Mr. James Oppong-Boanuh, who was also known to be very tough on crime. In the bullion van incidents of deadly armed robberies, IGP Oppong-Boanuh reportedly clashed with Dr. Ernest Addison, the present Governor of the Bank of Ghana, over the need for all banking institutions engaged in the transportation of huge sums of liquid cash on our roadways and highways to expeditiously acquire the sort of well-fortified armored vans and trucks routinely used hereabouts in the European West.
In the case of Ghana, the focus of emulation was the European countries; Western Europe, to be exact. Which was not altogether unusual, being that Ghana is a former British colony, with its civil service and statal and parastatal establishments or systems studiously modeled after those of the legendary or proverbial John Bull. The good news here is that, finally, after statically and almost pointlessly treading the watermill for decades now, an inimitably visionary and progressive President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has healthily and auspiciously decided to collaborate with IGP Akuffo-Dampare into deploying a strategy that ought to have been established and been actively in operation for quite a considerable while now. Which, of course, is for the police establishment and its rank-and-file membership to long have taken the battle to these killers and nation-wreckers, including some who have been forensically identified to be among the top echelon membership of the country’s main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).
This patent act of inexcusable criminality among the top-echelon operatives of the National Democratic Congress needs to be highlighted in the runup to the 2024 General Election. For the state and level of our national security is, without a doubt, the most significant index of the general quality of life of the proverbial average Ghanaian citizen. On this front, IGP Akuffo-Dampare and his hardworking and vigilant men and women of the Ghana Police Service must be afforded all the necessary material and moral support that they need to move Ghana up the ladder of an enviable upper-middle-income nation. Of course, as Americans are wont to say, “The only limit is the sky” and, of course, the depth and breadth of the imagination and genius of our leaders and the Ghanaian citizenry at large.
*Visit my blog at: KwameOkoampaAhoofeJr
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
October 31, 2021
E-mail: [email protected]