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25.11.2008 General News

Woes of security agencies

By Micael Boateng, Sunyani - Ghanaian Chronicle

Much is expected of from the security agencies in the country, particularly, during the electioneering period, to perform their respective duties perfectly and maintain peace and order as mandated, through which they have thrived, despite all the challenges.

Ghana boasts of being among the most peaceful countries in the Sub-region, and even the world, all through the selfless efforts of the security agencies, which are inadequately resourced, coupled with poor service conditions.

A recent tour by the Minister of State at the Ministry of the Interior, Nana Obiri Boahen, to some of the offices and residences of security personnel in parts of the region, revealed the pathetic situations faced by personnel of the country's security agencies.

Inadequate personnel, logistics, poor office and residential accommodation among others, were the general problems faced by personnel of the Ghana Police Service, Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS), Prisons Service, Immigration Service and the National Disaster management Organisation (NADMO), in all the places visited.

The Nkoranza District Fire Office has a total work force of 27, in charge of both Nkoranza North and South, with only one old fire tender, regardless of the area being fire-prone in the region.

The police at Nkoranza had similar problems as that of their colleagues of the Fire Service with one vehicle, with which sometimes fueling and maintenance becomes a problem and having to do with poor the road networks in the two districts.

The Amantin Police Station, in the Atebubu/Amantin District, has only four police personnel, with a deplorable office accommodation, poor and inadequate residential accommodation, and no typewriter, not to even dream of a computer.

Atebubu, fortunately has a very beautiful police station constructed by the District Assembly, but a poor rented police barracks, which looks like a death trap, while the Fire Service at Atebubu has a problematic fire tender, poor office structure, and no official barracks for personnel.

Those of Yeji and Prang in the Pru District were not different, as personnel from all the agencies complained of issues like the bureaucratic processes in complaining to the higher authorities of a problem, lack of in-service training for personnel after recruitment, delays in promotion and salaries.

It was revealed that the three Districts - Pru, Sene and Atebubu/Amantin - have no prison to detain remand suspects, which compels prosecution officers to send remand persons to Kumasi, Sunyani or Salaga, at their own cost.

The Yeji office premises of the Fire Service was described by personnel as a hub for traders, who use the place from the mornings to the evenings daily for their activities, while the place has nothing except a telephone facility.

However, Nana Obiri Boahen assured the various agencies that there would be a serious and effective transformation next year, adding that the time had come for the police service and other agencies to be equipped adequately, for peace and order to prevail in the country.

He disclosed there were new vehicles for the Police Service, which were yet to be distributed, and the government had also signed an agreement with an Indian firm, Ezembank, and a US firm, to provide modern fire tenders for the GNFS.

Nana Obiri Boahen assured that there would be the institution of a comprehensive insurance policy for fire personnel, while the bureaucratic processes for complaints in the security agencies would be given a second look.