70 persons sensitized on vagrancy laws in Accra
About 70 participants have been trained in Accra on the need to decriminalize vagrancy laws.
Oftentimes, district assemblies pass bylaws like fines which these vagrants are unable to pay and eventually end up in prison.
The participants were drawn from 25 electoral areas in the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA).
They included traders unions, ‘truck pushers’, waste managers, landlords, and hairdressers.
“The project has come about because of the draconian District Assemblies bylaws, which appear to have sent poor people into prison and continue to oppress the poor,” Ibrahim Oppong Kwarteng, Executive Director of Crime Check Foundation said in an interview with theghanareport.com
Speaking at a sensitization workshop in Accra on Thursday, June 17, 2021, a legal practitioner with the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, Nii Ayi Bontey, admonished participants to desist from flouting the bylaws.
“Avoid crime because crime will destroy your family, career, and your life,” he said.
On their side, the vagrants asked for the provision of waste collection bins and resourcing of assembly members.
“The assemblies must provide the various electoral areas with free ‘Borla taxis’ and possibly get petty offenders into farming rather than throwing them into jail,” she requested.
The project is being implemented by the crime prevention organization, Crime Check Foundation (CCF) in partnership with the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA).
The one-year project will be rolled out in 12 metropolitan assemblies in three regions; Greater Accra, Ashanti, and Central.
“We have begun with the mapping, and we are engaging with the various district assemblies in the selected regions and the leadership of vagrants”.
The project will sensitize 1200 vagrants about their rights and responsibilities to prevent any misunderstandings with the assemblies.
“In order not to seem as we are inciting vagrants against the district assemblies and the central government, we will also educate them about their duties as patriotic citizens,” he added.
Monitoring and Evaluation
To monitor the progress and effectiveness of the project, a contact centre will be created after the sensitization to address the concerns of vagrants at the partnering organization, Crime Check Foundation.
According to Mr Kwarteng, the police will also be engaged to monitor the progress of the project.
The project will run from May 2021 to May 2022.