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22.01.2007 General News

Strong political will needed for anti-drug war

By : The Ghanaian Times
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The former Director of the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), Kofi Bentum Quantson, has called for a strong political commitment to help fight the drug menace in the country, saying the spate of narcotic drug trafficking required drastic measures to curb it.

"It is good to arrest the drug situation at the top as early as possible before it is allowed to trickle to the bottom", he stressed in a paper he delivered on "The threats and levels of drug trafficking in Ghana", at a workshop for media and senior police personnel at Dodowa over the weekend.

The workshop, on the theme, "Role of the media in combating organised crime", was organised by the Ghana Journalists Association in collaboration with the Ghana Police Service and the British High Commission.

It was aimed at finding ways to improve media-police relations to enhance cooperation in exposing organised crime.

Mr. Quantson said that although the problem of drug trafficking existed in the past, it had assumed an increased rate in recent times which needed a concerted effort of all to reverse it before it got out of hand.

He said drug trafficking, affected the moral fibre of the society, undermined the democratic process and bred corruption.

"National security is not about gun, arms and weapons but the survival and safety of the citizenry and the country as a whole', he said.

Mr. Quantson who was also former Executive Secretary of the Narcotics Control Board described the workshop as opportune which would enable the police and the media to share ideas and bring their experiences to bear on the fight against the drug menace.

He noted that the drug curriers mostly operated in countries with very weak economic systems and plagued by poverty and unemployment.

He said the traffickers had the potential of manipulating the economy particularly when they found their way into the domain of politicians or policy makers, the judiciary, the police, the media and other key institutions of the state.

To curb their influence, Mr. Quantson urged the media to intensify their reportage on their activities because they feared to be exposed, and therefore tried to bribe such bodies, especially the media.

He also advised the public to help expose perpetrators of drug trafficking by supplying information to the security agencies.

Also contributing to the discussions, the Director General of the CID, David Asante-Apeatu, said the police were doing their best to stop the menace and drug trafficking and called for support from the public.

He spoke about another disturbing trend in the crime situation which he identified as cyber or internet fraud, car hijacking, child trafficking, prostitution and pirating.

He said with the help of the other security agencies the police were able to retrieve 108 stolen vehicles brought into the country last year some of whose owners had been found and the vehicles returned to them.

In 2005, a total of 132 vehicles were retrieved and in 2004, 351, and Mr. Asante-Apeatu attributed the reduction to the collaborative effort of the security agencies.

Source: The Ghanaian Times