VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT
Hon Members, item numbered 3 -- Correction of Votes and Proceedings and the Official Report. We have the Votes and Proceedings of Wednesday, 8th February, 2017 -- Page 1…7 --
Thank you, Mr Speaker. On page 7, “Hon Members absent with permission”, item numbered 3. I have been captured as being absent with permission but I was here yesterday, so it should be corrected.
Page 8 . . . 9 --
Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, I pointed out in this House yesterday that my Hon Colleague was marked absent. Today, I have been marked absent for yesterday. There is something wrong, so, the Clerks- Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, I was in the Chamber yesterday, but I have been marked absent.
Thank you; noted. Hon Members, the Votes and Proceedings of Wednesday, 8th February, 2017, as corrected are hereby adopted as the true record of proceedings. Hon Members, we have the Official Report of Wednesday, 1st February, 2017 for correction. Any corrections? [Pause] -- Mr Kwadwo Nyanpon Aboagye -- rose
Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, column 699 of the Official Report, under “At the Commencement of Public Business”, item numbered 5, the phrase “on the Order Paper” has been captured as”on he Order Paper”.The “he” should be “the”.
Hon Member, please, come again.
Mr Speaker, I said that on page 1, column 699, paragraph four, under the caption, “At the Com- mencement of Public Business”, the phrase, “on the Order Paper” has been captured as “on he Order Paper”, but the “he””should be corrected to read “the”. I hope that is all right. [Interruption] --
“which a Member can do,” is written as “each Member can do”. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Thank you very much, Hon Member. Hon Members, any further corrections? [Pause] -- Hon Members, in the absence of any further corrections, the Official Report of Wednesday, 1st February, 2017 is hereby adopted as the true record of proceedings. Hon Members, we also have the Official Report of Thursday, 2nd February, 2017 for correction. [Pause] --
[No correction was made to the Official Report of Thursday, 2nd February, 2017]. Hon Members, item numbered 4 on the Order Paper -- Statements. [Pause] -- Hon Members, we have two Statements, essentially on the same issue. The first one is from Hon Alex Adomako- Mensah, Member for Sekyere Afram Plains; it is on “The conflict between the Fulani herdsmen and farming communities in Ghana: Any way forward?” Hon Members, the second one is from Hon Andy Kwame Appiah Kubi, on “The effect of nomadic cattle rearing on general security and agricultural productivity in pastoral areas of Ghana -- The case of the Agogo enclave of the Afram Plains”. Hon Adomako-Mensah, you may please read your Statement.
Mr Speaker, I have been on my feet for some time and respectfully, I would want to appeal to you and seek your leave under Standing Order 53 (2) to have the Business of the House, as set out on the Order Paper for today, varied.
Hon Member, under what Standing Order?
Mr Speaker, I would want to come under Standing Order 53 (2) to have the order of Business as set out on today's Order Paper varied, to have the Vice Chairman of the Appointments Committee lay the Fifth Report of the Appointments Committee on H.E. the President's nominations for |Ministerial appointments. Mr Speaker, we would just do the laying and then step out to continue the work of the Appointments Committee.
In the circumstances, I order that the order of Business on today's Order Paper be varied so that the item numbered 5 would be taken. Presentation of Papers -- Chairman of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, the Chairman is presiding over the meeting of the Appointments Committee, but the Vice Chairman is with us, so, she would perform that business on behalf of the Chairman and the Committee as well.
We go back to the item numbered 4 -- Statements -- Hon Alex Adomako-Mensah
Hon Members, the next Statement is by Hon Andy Appiah-Kubi. Effect of nomadic cattle rearing on general security and agricultural productivity in pastoral areas of Ghana -- The case of Agogo enclave of the Afram Plains
Mr Speaker, the last Hon Member who spoke is a neighbour within the enclave and this problem is common to both districts. My Speaker, the perennial influx of Fulani herdsmen and their cattle, with its associated crime and destruction of property in the Asante Akim North portion of the Afram Plains has seriously undermined the security and productivity of the residents of the area. Mr Speaker, these alien herdsmen migrate to the Afram Plains with their cattle, in their numbers, without any security control or any record of their activity. Mr Speaker, these aliens do not understand the culture and tradition of the indigenes, neither do they respect any of the laws of our country.
Mr Speaker, there are records of Fulani herdsmen besieging villages and burning such villages during conflicts between themselves and the local people in the Afram Plains. Mr Speaker, the result is that many farmers have left the area while others cannot undertake their economic activities due to the heightened insecurity in the area. Mr Speaker, the Afram Plains provide us with highly fertile land which supports agricultural productivity, hence the traditional reference to it as the “food basket” of the nation. We in the Asante Akim North District, have prepared three (3) bankable proposals for consideration under the Government's Industrialisation Pro- gramme in the areas for: a. Processing of plantain into powder and chips; b. Processing of tomatoes into puree, powder, Ketchup; and c. Processing of water melon juice. Mr Speaker, our potential industrial projects remain threatened with the prevalence of this Fulani menace, since the raw materials are to be sourced from the farms on the Afram Plains where the Fulanis have besieged. The nomadic Fulani invasion started in the early 1990s and the complaints of the inhabitants culminated in the creation or institution of the “Operation Cow Leg” which flushed out the Fulani herdsmen and their cattle. Mr Speaker, the return of the Fulanis and their cattle in the year 2001 was equally checked by the combat group code-named “Cow Leg II”. The atrocities of the Fulani herdsmen reached its apex last year 2016, when it led to a series of demonstrations following recorded murders of Agogo citizens by the Fulani herdsmen. Mr Speaker, it is on record that last year, the Agogo township recorded three deaths within one week being the murder of the citizens by Fulani herdsmen. This situation provoked the massive demonstrations referred to. Mr Speaker, the season is very young but already, we have recorded one death. One last week, we had several injuries from gun-shots; some of such victims are receiving treatment at the Agogo Hospital. Mr Speaker, the Fulani herdsmen opened fire on the police personnel detailed to maintain security in the Afram Plains last week. So far, farming activities have grounded to a halt . The concomitant effect on food shortages in the coming months can only be imagined. Mr Speaker, at this juncture, may I crave your indulgence to congratulate our new Minister for the Interior, Hon Ambrose Dery, for the swift and decisive manner in which he responded to our appeal for support. Our security men on the ground have also performed creditably, in spite of the operational and logistical challenges. Mr Speaker, the situation requires both immediate as well as long-term solution approaches. In the immediate term, Mr Speaker, I pray that the House makes an order directed at the security agencies to intensity their effort to rid the Afram Plains of the Fulani herdsmen and their cattle to forestall normalcy in the socio-economic activities of the residents. Mr Speaker, the Fulani menace is not new to this House. I have knowledge of a previous Statement made by a Member of this House a few years ago, the late Hon Member for Abetifi, Hon Peprah (deceased) -- May his soul rest in perfect peace -- which prompted the House to constitute a special Committee to investigate the issues and report to the House. Mr Speaker, my information is that the committee unfortunately could not commence its work as ordered. Mr Speaker, I have had the benefit of sampling various literatures on the subject, including an order of the Kumasi High Court recommending the removal of the Fulani herdsmen and their cattle from the Afram Plains in the Asante Akim North District. I cannot gloss over the insightful contribution of Maj. Derek Oduro (retd) on the subject matter at various fora for which we are eternally grateful. Mr Speaker, discussions at various workshops, conferences and security meetings on the subject matter are common knowledge to the people of Ghana. But the absence of a sustainable solution to the problem is also notoriously known. Mr Speaker, the Fulani menace is not common only to Asante Akim North District. It is prevalent in some districts in the Eastern, Volta, Ashanti, Brong Ahafo and indeed, Northern Regions. Mr Speaker, the episode of the confrontation between the Fulani herdsmen and officials of World Vision International, leading to the abrogation of development projects in the Afram Plains is too painful to recount. The people have lost that social intervention package due to the threat of the violence from these Fulani herdsmen. Mr Speaker, Ghana is a signatory to the ECOWAS Protocol of Free Movement of People and Animals, yet we have not implemented the related provisions akin to the international best practices of Burkina Faso and Mali, who have passed Cattle Ranching Laws to protect farmers, and diseases on animals, which diseases are transmitted to consumers in our home country. Mr Speaker, the only Laws in existence in Ghana to respond to the subject-matter under discussion are: a. Animals (Control of Importation) Act, 1952 (No. 36). Section 2 which prohibits the importation of animals from specific countries, and section 11 which expects the Minister to sponsor a Legislative Instrument to regulate the implementation of the Act. b. Land Planning and Soil Conservation Act, 1953 (No. 32). Section 8 of which reserves additional powers on the Planning Committees to resettle cattle farmers into designated areas. Mr Speaker, it is upon this careful observation and the realisation of this time-bomb of a perennial problem that I pray the House to resolve to provide direction and guidance to the effect as follows:
a. That the Minister for National Security causes an immediate re-enforcement of security operations on the Afram Plains in the Asante Akim North constituency to flush out the nomadic Fulani's herdsmen and their cattle from the land. b. Constitute a special committee to investigate the issues relating to the Fulani menace in Asante Akim North District and by extension, to cover other related areas in the country. c. That the House causes the drafting, consideration and passage of a Bill to provide for the Establishment, Preservation and control of National Grazing Reserves and Stock Routes and the creation of National Grazing Reserve Commission for the purpose connected therewith. Mr Speaker, I make this submission in the firm belief that, peace has no alternative. Mr Speaker, I thank you for this opportunity
Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the Statement ably made by the Hon Members for Sekyere Afram Plains and Asante Akim North. Mr Speaker, I would congratulate them for taking time off their extremely busy schedules to write Statements extensively on the subject of nomadic herdsmen and its negative effect on the economic growth of this country. Mr Speaker, I would wish to draw the attention of the House to the fact that the issue of nomadic herdsmen -- and I would prefer to use the phrase “nomadic herdsmen” because increasingly, the reference to the subject as “the problems posed by Fulani herdsmen” leads to a situation where if care is not taken, xenophobia would engulf us and that is a dangerous issue that would pose security threat for our dear country. So, I would rather use the phrase “nomadic herdsmen”. Mr Speaker, Ghana is party to several Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Protocols on free movement of persons, goods and even transhumance; the movement of livestock across borders. Mr Speaker, unfortunately however, as a dualist State, we have omitted, as a country, to pass legislation to give effect to the protocol on transhumance. But as a country, our failure to do so does not in any way take away the obligations that arise from that particular protocol on transhumance. We would have to be very circumspect in discussing this subject. As a nation, we have certain obligations, such as the setting up of grazing fields and even veterinary services for the transhumance or the nomadic herdsmen to take advantage of when they enter our territory. Unfortunately, we have not honoured our part of the bargain. Mr Speaker, certain States also have certain obligations, such as notifying the host countries about the movement of nomadic herdsmen from their countries into our country. So, these are issues we would need to look at dispassionately and legislate on the subject matter to give effect to the ECOWAS Protocol on Transhumance, to which Ghana is a party. Our response as a country to the issue has been very ad hoc and that has lightly contributed to our inability to find lasting solutions to the problem. Mr Speaker, whenever the dry season sets in and the nomadic herdsmen enter our country, as they have entered the Asante Akim North and Sekyere Afram Plains constituencies, the response of the security agencies in our country is to set up task forces such as Operation Cow- Leg and once the issue dies down with the setting in of the rains, everybody goes to sleep. The following year, when the dry season sets in again and the cattle in our neighbouring countries, the Sahelian countries cannot find fodder to graze and enter our jurisdiction, then immediately we go back to set up those same task forces. That is not a holistic way to deal with the issue. Mr Speaker, it is good that the Hon Minister for the Interior is in the House. I would want to appeal to him to use his good offices to continue with a project we started during our time at the Ministry of the Interior. Mr Speaker, during our time, we had contemplated the setting up of a tripartite committee made up of the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, to consider a proposed legislation for the consideration of this House.
On a point of order. Mr Speaker, the Hon Member is actually throwing dust into our eyes. This is because --
Hon Member, please, rephrase your sentence.
Mr Speaker, I believe the Hon Member is misleading the House.
Hon Member, you may continue.
Mr Speaker, my appeal is for the Hon Minister for the Interior to consider to continue with that project we started, which was to set up the tripartite committee we had contemplated, comprising the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, to consider the proposed legislation that we most desire at this point in time. Mr Speaker, Nigeria has taken the lead. The Nigerian Senate has passed a law in recent times to deal with the subject and an important intervention that that law has introduced in Nigeria is the establishment of a Commission to deal with the issue of nomadic herdsmen. Mr Speaker, that particular Act gives meaning to the ECOWAS Protocol on Transhumance. We would have to be careful as a country because if care is not taken, our handling of nomadic herdsmen, whether they are Fulanis or Kotokolis or whatever
could result in our breach of international law. So, we need to take account of that and set in motion our agenda to introduce a legislation on the subject in this House for our immediate consideration. Thank you.
Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the Statements ably made by the Hon Alex Adomako-Mensah and Hon Andy Appiah-Kubi. Mr Speaker, I beg to support these Statements, against the background that I was a Member of Parliament by then and the Agogo area of the Afram Plains portion was part of my constituency. Therefore, I experienced the problems that the Fulani herdsmen posed to this country. Mr Speaker, if I am permitted to use a word to describe the Fulani herdsmen, I would say that they are very callous people. I say this against the backdrop that they kill, rape, destroy water bodies and other things.
Kofi Buah — rose
Hon Buah, do you rise on a point of order?
Yes, Mr Speaker.
Hon Member, I think you just arrived. It is being used in the context of herdsmen. It is not in description to any group as a whole. Hon Member, you may go on.
Mr Speaker, I said that if I may use a word to describe the Fulani herdsmen --
Hon Member, would you go on.
Most grateful, Mr Speaker. Why did I say they are --
Hon Member, please, that which has been overruled, we would not revisit.
They kill and rape and I am going to cite two instances that I was unfortunate to witness and to experience. Mr Speaker, in respect of rape, I had the unfortunate situation of listening to a woman who was being interviewed by TV3. This woman was raped at the Plains and the unfortunate incident was that, the people who were eyewitnesses to this rape, happened to be the woman's own daughter and her son-in-law, who were coming from their farm on a motorbike. They came to meet this woman being raped by a Fulani herdsman and when they pounced on the Fulani herdsman, he rushed into the bush and vanished. Mr Speaker, I was a witness to one man specifically, Kodwo Billa -- the Fulani herdsmen slashed his throat-- not even with a gun. They slashed his throat in the Plains at a town called Mpensempese. Mr Speaker, the last time I checked, the Fulani herdsmen had killed about 35 people within the Agogo portion of the Afram Plains alone -- 35 people. This thing has gone on for almost 10 years now and the unfortunate thing is that, nothing is being done about that. Mr Speaker, following a Statement that was made in the past by an Hon Member that Hon Appiah-Kubi referred to, a Committee was set up and I happened to be a member of the Committee. Not even the inaugural meeting of the Committee came on. The Committee never saw the light of day and therefore, Parliament could not do anything about that.
Hon Member, you should be winding up so that we can have enough contributions.
Mr Speaker, the makers of the Statements have already called for a ban on the Fulani herdsmen coming into the country with their problems and I really support this idea. Following the problems that they were giving, I personally took the matter to court and I took the Ashanti Regional Coordinating Council to court, that they must be forced to flush out the Fulani herdsmen. A judgement was given and the Regional Minister then, set up a Committee to flush out the Fulani herdsmen. Mr Speaker, again, this Committee never functioned and up to date, the Fulani herdsmen still continue giving us problems.
Hon Member, in conclusion --
Mr Speaker, it is against this background that I would support the idea and the proposals that have been made, that Mr Speaker sets up a Committee to actually investigate the problems and find permanent solutions to the menace that is being created by the Fulani herdsmen. Thank you.
Yes, Hon Kpodo?
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Statements made by my Colleagues, Hon Andy Appiah-Kubi and Hon Alex Adomako-Mensah. Mr Speaker, I first would want to assist my Hon Colleague, Hon Alex Adomako- Mensah. He quoted an event on the second page of his Statement, referring to the incident in the Volta Region where he referred to the Town as Sekonde Ando. The name of the town is Sokode Ando and not Sekonde. Actually, it is located in my constituency and the incident involved the Fulani herdsmen and two communities, Sokode-Ando and Sokode- Bagble. Mr Speaker, these have been rampant not only in the Afram Plains area or in the Northern Region; it happens in even the southern part of the country and sometimes, results in very severe altercations which result in the loss of lives. In the particular case in Sokode, a young man was killed and this was as a result of probably the retaliation of the Fulani herdsmen over the killing of their cows. These cows may have destroyed the crops on the farmlands of the people of Sokode and they may have retaliated by killing the cow. But you cannot compare the life of a cow to that of a human being. We cannot accept these kinds of wanton
Hon Member, the Ministry of -- You either say it well or you do not say it. Hon Member, if you cannot say it properly, you must proceed; otherwise, put it in its appropriate fulness. We want this House to be a serious House of records.
Mr Speaker, it is the Ministry of Inner-City and --
Hon Member, please, if you do not know the name of the Ministry, withdraw it. If you want to say it, you may consult. Hon Member, be serious about it and say it in its fulness and appropriateness.
Mr Speaker, it is the Ministry of Inner-City and Zongo Development. [Hear! Hear!]
You may proceed.
Mr Speaker, I suggest that this new Ministry should be tasked additionally to formulate policies, which can regulate the movement of the Fulanis. This is in order that they would stop the frequent and rampant conflicts with the communities in which they rear their cattle. Mr Speaker, the important thing is to bring peace, and not to destroy the Fulanis or the communities in which they work. Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity.
Hon Minister for the Interior?
Mr Speaker, I fully agree with the points raised by the Hon Minister for the Interior, but in agreeing with those points, I just want to find out or probably draw our attention to the questions; Is Ghana a signatory to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Protocol on Transhumance? The answer is definitely yes. Does Ghana need to put in place a legislation to operationalise that Protocol? The answer again is yes. So, it does lie with the Executive to ensure that, that legislation is brought to this House to be passed to ensure that we control and manage this menace about the nomadic herdsmen. Mr Speaker, this is because Ghana is not the only country facing this problem. We have other countries that we can cite as examples; Nigeria has a law to control this, and for that matter, if we also have a law, it would help us in order to manage and control these herdsmen. So, by setting up a Committee by Parliament, definitely, we might not make any headway. This is because it has happened before; a Committee was set up and we did not have any solution. So, we might have a Committee again set up by Mr Speaker and we might not have a headway. So, I would be glad if Mr Speaker or Parliament could direct the Executive to ensure that they bring a proposal in the form of a Bill for Parliament to pass so that we could operationalise this protocol to control the menace of these nomadic herdsmen. Thank you.
Mr Speaker, may I crave your indulgence to yield my place to the Hon Member for Nsuta/ Kwamang/Beposo whose constituency also suffers the same affliction?
Mr Speaker, I would like to commend the Hon Member for Sekyere Afram Plains and also, the Hon Member from Agogo in the Asante Akim North Constituency. Mr Speaker, in fact, we share the same border and so, the issue which has to do with transhumance, is dear to my heart because of the following reasons: Mr Speaker, transhumance simply means the movement of people with their livestock in search of water and food. In other words, what the transhumance herder basically needs is grass and water for his animals. But how did they enter Ghana? Did they enter the country by themselves, or the routes that they go through are directed by Ghanaians? So, in looking at the activities of the transhumance, we should look at the socio-economics, the causes of river bodies, the destruction of farm lands and soil degradation which are all important if we are to handle the transhumance carefully. Mr Speaker, the activities of transhumance herders contribute to the economies of host countries in terms of cross-border livestock trade, livestock- related jobs and tax revenue generation. Transhumance herders supply major urban centres with food, animal protein such as meat and milk. In fact, these are to the advantage of the host countries but the herders at the same time also cause economic devastation to our country in the area of crop destruction, inappropriate -- having problems with our womenfolk, causing havoc to our food crops and farms. Mr Speaker, there is a way out. If we could come together and form what I call the National Transhumance Council, it would help the Saharan countries and the coastal countries.
1. Massive awareness creation, nationwide, on the benefits of transhumance if properly structured and managed. 2. Identification, demarcation and creation of well-developed grazing reserves for water points and shelter for herdsmen. 3. Identification and delineation of clearly-defined transhumance routes on corridors to grazing reserves. 4. Creation and equipping of legally-designated entry points for transhumance cattle at a strategic location on our borders. 5. Creation of fully-equipped resting points along the lifestock corridors or routes. 6. Enactment and enforcement of all appropriate laws and legislations on transhumance.
Hon Members, it is important that Parliament should be well- seized of this matter and also take appropriate action to deal with this menace. The ball having fallen in our court by our own discretions, should be seized well, so that we are seen by our people as serving their interest beyond these very good Statements. It is very important to note from our contributions that neighbouring countries apparently have sharpened their laws and taken steps to deal with this matter in a rather more satisfactory manner. We should learn from this and apply to the benefit of our people, particularly with the commencement of legislation by this Honourable House as a useful contribution in that regard. I respectfully invite the two Hon Members who presented the Statements and the Hon Minister for the Interior who is a member of the House to work along the Committee on Defence and the Interior to which the matter is hereby referred and come out with something really concrete to deal with this matter once and for all. Certainly, there are challenges, but as the people's representatives, we should be seen to be capable of surmounting those challenges in the interest of our people. So, it is hereby referred to the Committee on Defence and Interior accordingly. Hon Members, we also have a Statement from the Hon Member for Abuakwa North, Ms Gifty Twum-Ampofo, a Statement in remembrance of our late Colleague, Hon Joseph Boakye Danquah Adu. Hon Member, your Statement? In Memory of Hon Joseph Boakye Danquah Adu
Mr Speaker, on February 9, last year, a mighty oak tree got uprooted: the nest for many creatures destroyed. Exactly a year ago today, the whole country including Parliament was hit with the unbelievable news of the gruesome murder of Hon J. B. Danquah Adu in the comfort of his home in the early hours of that day. Hon J. B. Danquah Adu was a fine gentleman and very kind-hearted. His characteristic infectious smile and benevolence made him a friend of all -- Majority, Minority, the young and the old as well. He was an arm to rely on in times of need as an Hon Member of Parliament for Abuakwa North Constituency. J. B. as he was affectionately called, would not kill a fly and therefore, very strange to suffer in that manner. These attributes were attested to at his funeral. He was well mourned by all. Mr Speaker, it is therefore, surprising that investigation into his murder has not been treated with the urgency and diligence it deserves, at least, so, it seems. Today, his family, friends, Parliament, and members of Abuakwa North Constituency are still grieving and asking the same questions that they have been asking over the past one year: who killed J. B.? Who is behind his murder? And why was he murdered? The Police Command assured to keep Parliament briefed on occasions in the course of their investigations. This promise, I am informed, had not been kept by the Police. The House should immediately re-engage the Police on this again and, if they are not making progress, the House should demand a reopening of fresh investigations into the murder of Hon J. B. Danquah Adu. Mr Speaker, as of now, Members of Parliament do not enjoy any form of protection to reduce the fear of attack or murder. Recognisably, it may be expensive to provide police protection for all the two hundred and seventy-five (275) Members of Parliament. However, some security measures could be put in place to improve the situation.
I would like to appeal to Leadership of the House to juxtapose the cost of organising just one induction workshop for Members of Parliament or that of by- election with providing police security for Members of Parliament. Democracy is expensive but the dividends make it worth undertaking that enterprise. Mr Speaker, I am grateful for the opportunity.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to comment on the Statement ably made by the Hon Member on the commemoration of the passing on of our Colleague. One year ago, Mr Speaker, we were all witnesses to this gruesome murder. Let me first of all extend my condolences to the bereaved family, especially the surviving wife and the children. Mr Speaker, one year ago, Leadership, and for that matter, the entire House was assured that as investigation proceeded, Parliament would be briefed on the stages of the investigation. Our checks revealed that nothing of that sort has been done. All we hear in the media is the alleged murderer always requesting for a particular type of food and the opportunity to go home and meet his wife. This is quite strange at this time and age when a Sitting Member of Parliament was murdered in this manner and a year on, the representatives of the people do not even know where the case has reached. Mr Speaker, she made mention of the fact that we all live in fear, and this is true. We are not saying that we are supermen and women, and that special treatment
Mr Speaker, there is a saying that when a tree dies, another tree also comes up. I would like to use this opportunity to commend our Hon Colleague who came after our Hon Colleague, the late J. B. Danquah Adu. We all knew J. B. Danquah Adu in this House as an affable person who endeared to all our hearts. A year ago today, we came to the floor of the House and were told that our Brother had gone to be with the Lord, not through any natural means, but through unnatural means, and this unnatural means could have been averted. Mr Speaker, having been murdered in cold blood just like that, shows clearly how callous human beings can be, especially when we do not know the intention of the person who did it. That is why in a State, we have security agencies to take up issues of this nature. Unfortunately, over a year now, the culprit and those who had the intention of gruesomely murdering our Brother have not been identified or brought to final conclusion. Mr Speaker, quite remember that a committee in this House has spoken extensively on this issue concerning the security of our Colleague Members of this House. Mr Speaker, in the same last year, most of our Colleagues had their homes burgled. Armed robbers entered the homes of a lot of people. Some were beaten and some were even attacked with cutlasses. Mr Speaker, we spoke about it on this floor, and nothing has been done about the security of Hon Members of this House. Mr Speaker, in the Seventh Parliament, we are expecting that Leadership and every Hon Member of this House, including Mr Speaker, would take it up upon themselves to make sure that Hon Members of this august House are protected.
We once again send our condolences to the bereaved family, especially the wife and his workers. This shameful act would not be repeated on Hon Members of this House again. Thank you.
Hon Members, considering the time and the state of Business in the House, I direct that Business continues beyond the prescribed hours. Hon Members, I would admit the last two contributions.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the Statement. Mr Speaker, indeed, our Hon Colleague, who left footprints in his lifetime, was one, who was greatly admired by all. Mr J. B., as we all referred to him, was a character that one cannot help but love. He was one person who was willing to stretch out a helping hand to Hon Members, if there was the need. I do recall some discussions I had with him in private, where I expressed my desire to go into business. He gave me a few lines and some few ideas and was willing to help me take off in that respect. Indeed, he was a man with a creative blend of ideas, businesswise and anytime he stood on the floor of this Chamber to contribute, you would hardly identify partisan lines, except when he was reading a Statement in commemoration of the late J. B. Danquah. He was such a fine man, and his passing was a real shock to all of us. Truth be told, many of us have not got over the death of our Hon Colleague and indeed, the question of who murdered J. B. Danquah and why, still lingers on. Mr Speaker, it is so disheartening that, till now, no substantial evidence has been found why J. B. Danquah Adu was killed and who was behind it. In spite of the fact that the matter is before the police and irrespective of the fact that some young men have been arrested, we would have expected that by this time, some very conclusive positions would have been arrived at by the security agencies of our country. But I believe and I am confident that whoever the perpetrators are, the law would certainly catch up with them. It is said that, at the hilly and craggy point, truth would always stand. The truth behind what happened to J. B. Danquah Adu and those behind it, would definitely come to light. Mr Speaker, as we remember our Hon Colleague, we would want to assure the family that our thoughts are very much with them. Mr J. B. Danquah Adu is gone, but he would continue to live in our hearts. Mr Speaker, it is true that security for Hon Members of Parliament is crucial and very necessary. For those of us who believe that our lives are in the hands of
the Almighty God, those of us who put our security in the hands of the Almighty, we believe that, we are always protected and that what God has not destined for us would not come near our door steps, because God Almighty would cause His angels to bear us up on their wings. But again, within the human environment, it becomes necessary that people who probably do not have the faith that I have, it would be necessary for them to feel protected --
Hon Members, those who have faith also need protection -- [Laughter] -- So, Hon Member, you may conclude.
Mr Speaker, it is true that we all need protection, that which is important for the State to do, to ensure the protection of Hon Members of Parliament, and for that matter, all Ghanaians, must be done. Often times, when high profile persons are found in this situation, it appears we get more concerned about the security of such persons, but indeed, we must also be concerned about Kojo Mensah out there, who also goes through a similar situation, be it in the Afram Plains, Kedzikope or Dzelukope. For that matter, I would want to humbly crave the indulgence of our security apparatus to heighten their game and to ensure that the Ghanaian is safe, feels safe and is protected. Mr Speaker, with these few words, I thank you for the opportunity.
Hon Ambrose Dery, let me call the last Hon Member and as an Hon Minister, we will give you a word before the Leaders because, this concerns and touches your -- So, let the last Hon Member speak on this. Yes, Hon Member, then the Hon Minister will make some necessary observations before Leadership.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for giving me this opportunity to comment on this unfortunate incident to one of our former Hon Colleagues. Before I proceed, I would like to sympathise with the people of Abuakwa North for the loss they had last year and also to express my condolences to the immediate family and the extended family of our late Hon Colleague. Mr Speaker, we have heard a lot about the good nature of our late Hon Colleague. We have heard a lot from those who worked with him about how humble, affable and hardworking he was and how he contributed much to the work of this noble House. Mr Speaker, inasmuch as I appreciate that, the drag and delay in addressing this issue is causing continued pain to the family. I would like to say that, while we appeal to you to use your good Office to expedite action and speak to the security apparatus and our courts, I think -- Let me with your permission --A friend of mine, a judge, once told me that if one opens his or her door ajar, the thief would come and take one's items or would come and steal. Mr Speaker, my point is that, what is the state of our personal security in this House, our car parks and our offices as we speak? While we mourn and complain about the delay, Mr Speaker, those of us who are living must begin and with your permission and your assistance, look at our personal security. I recall when we went to Koforidua, the security resource person who came there complained about the poor security system we had at Koforidua and he even suggested that, at that workshop, we could be attacked. Mr Speaker, oftentimes, we come here to this Chamber -- I think after 2.00 or 3.00 p.m. when this House is not in session, one can walk through the electronic equipment. The security of this Parliament and Hon Members must be 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Some of my Hon Colleagues have already mentioned how they meet people in designated lifts for Hon Members of Parliament. Mr Speaker, I would kindly plead with you to help this House. Use your good office, so that we would be able to strengthen and provide security for Hon Members here and to this Chamber and to also ensure that once our Hon Minister is here that we increase the ratio of police to the population so that we would have adequate security, not just for Hon Members of Parliament, but for ordinary members as a whole. Once again, I sympathise with Hon Gifty Twum-Ampofo and the people of Abuakwa North and I hope that the court process of this regrettable and painful thing would come to an end very soon. Mr Speaker, I am very grateful for your time.
Any contribution from Leadership?
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to make comments about the Statement. Mr Speaker, in fact, the late Hon J. B. Danquah Adu was a Friend and he represented a constituency. Technically speaking, he spoke the interest of a certain constituency. I am talking about the business community. He was not just a politician; he was a businessman and at the same time an industrialist. Mr Speaker, whenever we considered a Bill that came from the business community -- I am talking in terms of trade -- You could see that whenever he was on his feet, he spoke practically about the interest of the business community. He did not just speak the interest of the business community, he was a unifier as well. Mr Speaker, at a certain time, he could take a stand, which when one goes into it practically, one could see that he spoke with the voice and interest of the Ghanaian community as a whole. Mr Speaker, it is unfortunate that we do not have such a personality in our midst now. That notwithstanding, his demise created some awareness and certain steps were also taken. It is after the demise of Hon J. B. Danquah Adu that the Fire Service Post in Parliament was upgraded and now we have a District Fire Station. Besides that, the Police Post that we used to have in the Parliament has also been upgraded to a District Police Head- quarters status. Mr Speaker, that notwithstanding, conditions of Members of Parliament in terms of security was high on our agenda when the Parliamentary Ad-hoc Committee on Emoluments engaged the Committee that was set up to look into the conditions of service of Members of Parliament. This item had been on the agenda for several times and it was never accepted. However, after this, in the last Parliament when we tabled it and had instances where Members of Parliament had been attacked even leading to the loss of a Member among us, this time that item was seriously accepted. And it is on that note that Hon Members are progressing from that. Mr Speaker, just to remind Hon Colleagues that in the previous Committee's Report, it was said that the Committee that was to be set-up to look into the conditions of service of members of the Seventh Parliament, must be set within, at least, six months when the Parliament commences. Mr Speaker, I just want to crave your indulgence and seek your leave that, that provision be looked at very critically for the security of Hon Members. So that each Hon Member will have one security officer for a guard. Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for this opportunity.
Hon Majority Leader, any comment at this stage on the matter?
Mr Speaker, there are two things in respect of the security of Hon Members. In reality, that matter is covered by our Rules. Indeed, it comes under Standing Order 164. I plead with Hon Members that we let the appropriate Committee, the House Committee, assume full control on that matter. That is the security of Hon Members. Mr Speaker, the issue raised by the Hon Member who made the Statement relating to what the Police Administration promised to do, that is, to occasionally engage Parliament and to report to us the status of their investigation, Mr Speaker, after the encounter with the police, they never came back and today, all of us are wallowing in ignorance not knowing exactly where they have reached. I would want to believe that it would be appropriate at this time to reconnect with the police, to re-engage them and let them come and brief us again on the status of their investigation. That perhaps, would enable us know what to do to reignite the investigation or perhaps, if we are completely unsatisfied, to call for a re-opening of fresh investigations into the circumstances leading to the unfortunate murder of our Hon Colleague. Mr Speaker, I guess the first point of call is establishing that link with the police, invite them here as we did the first time, to brief Mr Speaker and Leadership of the status of their investigation, then, we can take it from there. Mr Speaker, the other issue is on the earlier Statement that was made in respect of the menace caused by the alien Fulani herdsmen --
Hon Majority Leader, you are moving into a double bite of the cherry.
Mr Speaker, I just want us to remind ourselves of what we did the first time.
Mr Speaker, you made a referral to the Committee on Defence and Interior. Mr Speaker, the effect of the activities of the alien Fulani herdsmen is multi- faceted and multi-sectoral, which explains why the first time the Statement was made on the floor of Parliament, referral was made to a Special Committee that we established. But Mr Speaker, it has effect on agriculture and it has effect on human life. Mr Speaker, because, we have mentioned the domestication or otherwise of protocols, perhaps, Foreign Affairs, that was why it became necessary to constitute an Ad-hoc Committee to deal with it. I just want to let the Chair know of what was done at that time, that is, in 2011. We could not muster resources to allow the Committee to perform their assigned responsibilities. Into 2012, which was an election year, space could not be created for that Committee. So, now that we are beginning a new Meeting, Mr Speaker, I would just want to remind you that, this is what happened and perhaps, to rather use the vehicle of an Ad-hoc Committee, a Special Committee to deal with it at this very onset. Mr Speaker, that is why I thought it is necessary to let Hon Members know what happened at the time and perhaps, we can take a cue from what effort was initiated at the time. Mr Speaker, I thank you.
Hon Members, while I extend my own sympathies to the bereaved family, I want to take note of our discussions this morning. First of all, I trust that the Hon Minister for the Interior will report to us soonest. We want the matter to be referred to, of course, the House Committee, together with the Privileges Committee, that it will be clear that, security is a privilege of those who are commissioned to do special work for the country. So, the House Committee and the Privileges Committee under Standing Order 27 should investigate and report and make recommendations. It is important for our compatriots to note that, Hon Members in doing their work with vigilance, may fall foul of certain sectional and selfish interests of some individuals in society. The work of Hon Members at the Appointments Committee -- It is not everything that may appear pleasant to certain persons at any given time. So, is that of our Public Accounts Committee. So, is it about all other oversight functions. When this Honourable House examines contracts and peruses them effectively, some people may not want that to happen. In this connection, Hon Members' lives may be like the lives of auditors. And when Hon Members ask for protection, it is something that should be put in the appropriate context. So, we want this Committee to note carefully the fact that they have inquisitorial, and investigative functions in their oversight arena and make appropriate recommendations which will include personal police security for the Hon Members of Parliament in their homes. After all, for the period of doing their work in the interest of people only. And also to examine further, matters concerning our entire security in this area. The fact that Parliament does not own the property surrounding it; the State Protocol areas and the others, so that, the Executive would release these for Parliament to have a conclave and do our work the way it is done in neighbouring countries -- In security and in decency. Hon Majority Leader, do you have any indication?
Mr Speaker, we have exhausted Business set out on today's Order Paper. Yesterday, I urged the various Committees to hold meetings to determine their programmes for the Meeting -- and lo and behold, there are so many of them listed to have their own meetings. Mr Speaker, we also have a joint caucus meeting upon adjournment, to engage some stakeholders. Mr Speaker, that is the case, and the time reads thirty minutes after 2.00 p.m. May I, therefore, entreat you to do what our Standing Orders allow us you to do, and that is to adjourn the House.
Hon Minority Chief Whip, do you have any observation?
Mr Speaker, I perfectly agree with the Hon Majority Leader that, if we look at the other activities after we adjourn, we cannot but to say that, we are at your mercy since it is after 2.00 p.m.
Hon Members, the House is hereby adjourned to tomorrow, at 10.00 o'clock in the forenoon. Thank you.
The House was adjourned at 2.32 p.m. till Friday, 10th February, 2017 at 10.00 a.m.