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12.05.2007 Regional News

Nima battles negative image

By myjoyonline
Nima battles negative image

Criminal activities such as mobile phone snatching, petty robbery and hooliganism are to be wiped out of Nima, a suburb of Accra.

This follows collaboration between the police, religious leaders, chiefs, opinion leaders and the Nima West Youth Development and Counselling Neighbourhood Watch Group.

Members of the committee have started patrolling the area day and night to arrest suspected criminals and hand them over to the police.

But the thorny issue has been that some chiefs and opinion leaders are alleged to have thwarted the efforts of the committee by bailing the suspects, with the excuse that they are students.

Consequently, the committee organised a meeting in Accra at the weekend during which chiefs, opinion leaders and the police assured members of the committee of their readiness to support them in their efforts to fight crime at Nima.

The chiefs, religious and opinion leaders also indicated their intention to form a committee to liaise with the members of the Neighbourhood Watchdog Committee to rid Nima of criminals and restore the enviable image of the community.

Addressing the gathering, the Nima Police Divisional Commander, Chief Superintendent A. Awuni, said Nima was not a jungle, and that majority of residents were quite responsible people.

He asked the recalcitrant residents of Nima to reform and refrain from criminal activities.

Chief Superintendent Awuni lauded members of the Watch Group for coming together to fight crime in their area, and assured them of support from the police.

He asked them to be their brother's keeper, by protecting one another in times of danger.

On the question of the police releasing suspected criminals, Chief Superintendent Awuni reminded the people of the constitutional provision that bars the police from keeping suspects for more than 48 hours.

However, he said if the police found evidence of criminality against anyone arrested by the Watch Group, such suspected criminal would be dealt with according to the law.

An Islamic cleric and Imam, Sheikh Hussein Zakaria, noted that crime rate had reduced at Nima, especially when the Neighbourhood Watch Group started their operations some months ago.

He stressed the need for chiefs, religious and opinion leaders to team up with the group to further bring down crime in the area.

The Vice-Chairman of the Neighbourhood Watch Group, Mr Tanko Suleiman (West Gate), mentioned mobile phone snatching, petty robbery and rough riding of motorbikes as some of the unfortunate occurrences at Nima.

He said members of the committee were frustrated in their work in the past as some chiefs and opinion leaders put up bail for the suspected criminals anytime they were arrested.

He, therefore, asked such chiefs and opinion leaders to desist from that, and rather collaborate with the group to fight crime and restore the image of the community.

Touching on the modus operandi of the group, Mr Suleiman said members combed the area late in the night to smoke out suspected criminals and hand them over to the police.

He said the members accompanied people to their respective homes late in the night to protect them from any attacks by criminals.

Also, Mr Suleiman said, members of the group arrested teenagers who engaged in immoral activities, they warned them and then led them to their various homes.

An opinion leader, Mr Ibrahim Yahaya, who chaired the function, commended the group for the effort, and asked them to extend their functions to attract other social services to members of the community.

Culled from Daily Graphic