Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity given me to make a Statement on the recent spate of gruesome murders in Ghana.
Mr Speaker, Ghana has gained prominence in the sub-region as a peaceful country where democracy and the rule of law thrive. We have provided refuge for our neighbours who have suffered civil unrest and conflict and take pride in being
an oasis of peace in a troubled region. However, over the last few months, the country has witnessed a series of gruesome murders which occurred under bizarre circumstances that are mind - boggling. This is a threat to our national security.
In March, 2014 alone, three (3) major murder cases were reported in the media, including that of an enterprising young man, Fennec Okyere, who was stabbed to death by unknown assailant(s) in his bedroom as he lay asleep on 13th March, 2014. Fennec worked for the Jospon Group of Companies and was also the manager for Kwaw Kesse, a famous musician. Fennec was my adopted son. He was just 30 years old; hardworking, caring and generous to a fault.
Three days earlier, on 10th March, 2014, the Chief of Joma, a village near Ablekuma in Accra, Nii Ayitey Noyaatse I, was shot dead in his bedroom. He was 40 years old and happened to be a promising hiplife musician as well. Mr Speaker, last week, there was also another gruesome murder in Tema of a 55- year -old businessman who was shot dead in his car at home.
Other gruesome murders include that of the 34-year-old Akosombo Branch Manager of Zenith Bank, Mr Kwesi Sakyi Prah, shot and killed in his home at Tema, and Mr Emmanuel Asante Akuffo, a 41- year old banker with Fidelity Bank, who was also shot and robbed in February this year. An officer of the Ghana Immigration Service was also killed early this year.
Mr Speaker, in December 2013, Rosemond Nyampong, a 32-year-old woman who worked with Stanbic Bank, was murdered in her house. Other recent murders include the Chief of Seikwa in the Brong Ahafo Region, Nana Kwaku Dwoma Ankoana, who was also shot in his house;
26-year-old vulcaniser, Rashid Mustapha, whose body was found in the Aboabo forest in Tamale and a 29-year-old network engineer, who was shot several times at his residence in Tamale.
My condolences to the families of all these victims.
Mr Speaker, while we cannot be certain about the actual causes of these crimes as many are still under investigation and no arrests have been made, some of these recent murder cases bear the semblance of contract killings, where people who have scores to settle with others, hire people to kill them. Some of the perpetrators could also be armed robbers who assault their victims before or after robbing them.
The rising tension in our society, “get r ich quick” syndrome, as well as impatience and intolerance among some young people and their unwillingness to use established processes and procedures to resolve differences, could also be the cause of this phenomenon.
Mr Speaker, the question is, how prepared and equipped are the police to provide protection to us? You and I could be the next victims and we are all at risk! Dr Kwesi Anning, a security expert and a director with the Kofi Annan Peace Keeping Training Centre, recently observed that this rising spate of dramatic and brutal killings will continue as criminals will always want to exploit tensions that arise in rapidly transforming societies.
Mr Speaker, I therefore, call on the law enforcement agencies to conduct thorough investigations, arrest and successfully prosecute the killers as well as the instigators and organisers of these crimes.
Mr Speaker, the Police should also expand their night patrol coverage and intensify public education on how these criminals operate and what the public should do when faced with dangerous situations. Police hotlines and emergency numbers should be publicised more and prompt action should be taken on incidents reported to them.
They should also be equipped with the requisite technology and resources to combat crimes, as most criminals have become more sophisticated. Neighbour- hood watch dog committees should be encouraged in all communities. They should be well-trained by the Police and their activities backed by law.
Mr Speaker, we should find a lasting solution to the current power outages as some of these murder cases happen when there is power outage.
My Speaker, I wish to conclude by reiterating the need for all Hon Members of Parliament to be provided with personal security detail just as the Executive and Judiciary are. Our work exposes us to danger from disgruntled opponents, constituents and the general public and we need the assurance of our personal safety to enable us continue serving the nation with peace of mind.
Let us not wait till one of us falls victim to these marauding “criminals for hire” before we act. The work of the Legislature is just as important as that of the other arms of government and we need to be provided with similar conditions of service not as a favour but as of right.
I thank you very much, Mr Speaker, once again for the opportunity given me.