Expert Calls For Inter-Ministerial Approach To Tackle Robberies
Organised crime expert, John Mark Pokoo, has called on the president to institute an inter-ministerial approach to root out the increasing armed robbery in the country.
According to Pokoo, armed robbery has become a well-coordinated venture of criminal intelligence taking a direction in the country which has gone beyond what one or few institutions can handle.
His comment comes against the background of recent armed robberies across the country, including attacks on bullion vans, particularly in Kumasi and Accra.
In an interview with The Ghana Report on Tuesday, June 15, the expert explained that the current modus operandi of robbers was risky to the ‘ordinary Ghanaian’, noting that the president may not be spared by the growth of this criminality.
Pokoo opined that the recent frequent armed robbery incidents could partly be attributed to political and civilian patronage and use of firearms, especially during elections.
Again, the lack of enforcement of gun control laws, and the state’s inability to properly account for the number of weapons in the country, warrant non-licensed people, including criminals, to possess and use firearms.
“The influence of politics is a cause of concern. Politicians patronise the services of gun manufacturers and distribute them to these ‘macho men’ and they usually do not collect them after the elections.
Also, the shelves of the firearms’ bureau of the Ghana Police Service leave much to be desired, and their records are also not up to date,” the Head of Regional Small Arms and Light Weapons Control Training Programme at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre in Accra, Ghana (KAIPTC) said.
In the estimation of Mr Pokoo, armed violence was no longer restricted to one ministry, and therefore, required the president, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to constitute an inter-ministerial committee to handle the situation.
“You have the local government that is overseeing the whole governance architecture in the country outside the central government, [and the ministries of] interior and defence that is looking to security,” he explained.
The trade and agriculture ministries could also support the alternative efforts of blacksmithing and metalworkers that are producing these locally made weapons, he said, as he advocated for the inter-ministerial collaboration.
Pokoo believes that the moment the country finds itself calls for a conscious effort to determine the approach in managing and importing into the country.
In his view, there was the need to create an office that would render an effective and efficient supervisory role regarding the authorisation of guns and ownership of guns.
“Because, now the technology for manufacturing all sorts of guns, are in the system, and because they are not officially recognised, we are not able to register them,” Mr Pokoo said.
On Monday, June 14, a group of robbers, numbering eight on four motorbikes, attacked a transient MON-TRAN bullion van, killing a police officer and a hawker at Adedenkpo, near Jamestown in Accra.
The daylight robbery left the Nissan car with registration number GT 8592 W, with several bullet holes, including one through the car’s windscreen.
The driver of the vehicle was also sustained gun wounds, while, a sales clerk at the back of the van managed to escape from the car.
In the Kumasi incident, 10-suspected armed robbers attacked a bullion van belonging to the Delta Security Company at Fomena in the Ashanti Region in January this year.
The robbers killed the policeman escorting the van, General Lance Corporal Martin Baba, which was transporting GH¢500,000 from the Dunkwa-on-Offin branch of the Ghana Commercial Bank to the bank’s branch at New Edubiase.
The leader of the group, John Appiah, alias Omega, a 22-year-old senior high school (SHS) graduate and other suspects were later arrested.