The Impunity Of Land Guards
The phenomenon of land guards and the associated acts of terror the criminal players in its fold visit on innocent citizens is beyond the ken of most Ghanaians.
The incidence of land guards closely related to Election Day ballot box snatching and related acts of criminalities, demand a presidential action as has galamsey.
It remains one of the major challenges of law enforcement and unless it is tackled like the galamsey debacle is being done, it is on the verge of becoming an intractable national security issue, undoubtedly.
The plight of the police in the face of the challenge is lamentable. They have for a long time been unable to deal with the subject with the force that is required to do so for effectiveness.
Today's commentary has been triggered by the call on the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. David Asante-Apeatu, by some concerned persons to do something about one of the frontline land guard 'commanders,' Sariki Awala, whose tentacles in the criminal incidence of land guard covers the whole of the Greater Accra Region.
Smart as he is, he has bought his way with bad cops; he reportedly takes care of their family funeral bills and many other support gestures just so they would come to his assistance when he is trouble, as he is always. The beneficiaries of such largesse have not wavered in their support of their man.
With close to a dozen cases in court, he posts a picture of confidence as though nothing is at stake. He might be right because after all, he has paid most of the key persons who matter in such issues and has a standing army of land guards with an armoury of small arms for his operations.
When such matters appear on the front burners, we are disturbed because they dwarf the good works of professional cops who are doing all they can to change the face of the Ghana Police Service.
We acknowledge the recent assignment bestowed upon COP Dr. George Akuffo Dampare as Director General, Operations, at the Police Headquarters and the dividends being noticed since his assumption of the office. There are other committed officers too at the Other Ranks and Superior Officers echelon. Unfortunately, because of the troubles which negative policing evoke, their bad work is threatening those of our dedicated officers.
We wish to draw the attention of the president on the need to warn his appointees to steer off interference with the work of law enforcement officers, which is the main reason persons like Sariki Awala are able to do as they please; the impunity so painful to observe.
Until the status quo is reversed and the police given the free hand to work – especially on such criminal cases – we would continue to be haunted by the spectre of land guard terrorism. But must we in a country like ours which prides herself as being a beacon of the rule of law and not of humans, accommodate such criminal nonsense?
We shall return to this subject because of its varied ramifications and effects.