Isaiah 54:17 can overpower armed robbers – MP

Monday 31st March , 2014 4:14 pm

 The MP for Ablekuma North, Joe Appiah

The MP for Ablekuma North, Joe Appiah

At a time Ghanaians are pressing the nation’s security agencies to do more to protect them against brutal armed attacks by criminals; one of their representatives in the country’s 275-Member legislature is proposing a heavenly solution to the problem.

Ablekuma North MP, Joe Appiah, says law-abiding citizens who come under armed attack from criminals should simply recite the words of Isaiah 54:17 and they will be shielded by God.

The MP’s comments come at a time when the depreciating cedi has provoked many of Ghana’s pastors into night by night prayers in a desperate but spirited bid to get the nation’s fallen currency to regain strength against major international currencies.

“[In] 1995 when I was attacked by armed robbers, it was very terrible that time…” Mr. Appiah said at Monday’s sitting of Ghana’s national assembly. “When the armed robbers came to me, I just prayed a simple prayer –– Isaiah 54:17 –– that no weapon fashioned against me shall prosper. It really worked”.

He went on, “We need protection in his House. If for example, an armed robber or gun men enter this august House, how many of us can recite Isaiah 54:17 so that God in his own image will save us?”

The opposition MP was contributing to two statements read on the floor earlier by two colleague MPs on the recent wave of armed attacks that have claimed the lives of a number of Ghanaians.

The Bible in Isaiah 54:17 says, “No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, said the LORD.”

Mr. Appiah told colleague MPs at Monday’s sitting the promise of the Lord in the above Bible verse was potent and that he was a living testimony. He apparently drew inspiration from some Ghanaian church leaders and believers who have recently turned to God to save the nation’s troubled cedi.

“I command the resurrection of the cedi! In the name of Jesus!” Archbishop Nicholas Duncan-Williams of Action Chapel said in a strong prayer recently. He then turned to Satan: “Take your hands off the central bank!” For days, news reports about his prayers sparked intense nationwide debate as to whether indeed heaven has any role to play in the management of an economy.

Another influential Church Leader, Pastor Mensah Otabil of the International Central Gospel Church, fuelled the debate when told believers in the Gospel to “stop having all night meetings for the change of the economy”.

“It is time to plan to work hard; to be focused,” he told a packed chapel of congregants at his Abossey Okai church.

In a sermon titled “Power of vision”, Pastor Otabil said, “Every nation that has moved from third world to developed world had a clear plan. It didn’t hope that things will happen”.

Joe Appiah may have partly heeded the words the ICGC Pastor when, in his submission on the floor Monday, he went beyond asking Ghanaians to turn to God during armed attacks on them, to insist that institutions of state have a role to play in ensuring the safety of all.

“We need protection in this country,” he said. “The Ministry of Interior should be able to give us full protection by the Police…”

A wave of widely reported cold-blooded killings has triggered what appears to be nationwide panic among Ghanaians, with some fear-stricken citizens blaming what some have termed “contract killers”.

In Parliament today, two lawmakers echoed the sentiments of some of their constituents when they read statements on the floor, calling for an urgent national response to the threat posed by perceived “contract killers”.

On her feet, MP for Ablekuma West, Ursula Owusu, called the recent wave of murders in the country “a threat to national security”.

She said, “Mr. Speaker, Ghana has gained prominence in the sub-region as a peaceful country where democracy and rule of law thrives. 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”.

The Ablekuma West MP then went on to list a number of recent unresolved murders documented in the country to back her position. She mentioned, among others, the deaths of Zoomlinon’s Fennec Okyere, the Chief of Joma, Nii Ayitey Noyaatse I, Zenith Bank’s Kwesi Prah and Fidelity Bank’s Emmanuel Asante Akuffo.

“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 semblance of contract killings, where people who have scores to settle with others, hire people to kill them,” she said. “Some of the perpetrators could also be armed robbers who assault their victims before or after robbing them”.

Ursula Owusu, a trained lawyer, added, “The rising tension in our society, ‘get rich 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, I therefore call on the law enforcement agencies to conduct thorough investigations, arrest and successfully prosecute the killers as well as the instigators and organizers of these crimes,” she said. Her comments echoed an earlier call made in a similar statement read on the floor by Kennedy Osei Nyarko, MP for Akim Swedru.

Ursula Owusu also asked the Police to “expand and intensify” night patrol as well as “intensify public education on how these criminals operate and what the public should do when faced with dangerous situations” in order to help reduce the crime rate in the country.

“Mr. Speaker, we should find a lasting solution to the current power outages as some of these murders cases happen when there is power outage,” she added before going on to reiterate that “all members of Parliament” should 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 to continue serving the nation with peace of mind. Let us not wait until one of us falls victim to these marauding criminals for hire before we act,” she said.

Her call for MPs to be provided with “personal security detail” drew strong support from many colleague MPs who rose to comment on the two statements. Many cited the recent armed robbery attack on Nkwanta South MP, Gershon Gbediame and the near fatal attack on Akan MP, Joseph Kwadwo Ofori, as basis justification for MPs to be given state-sponsored bodyguards.

During proceedings, MPs heard their colleague, Gershon Gbediame’s own chilling account of how robbers raided his home on January 11 this year.

So far, eight suspected robbers believed to have been involved in the armed raid on the former Majority Chief Whip’s Community 17 home have been arrested and are facing criminal charges.

In his closing remarks, First Deputy Speaker, Ebo Barton Oduro, directed that the two statements and the contributions from members be forwarded to the Ministry of Interior for attention.

He said, “…When we reconvene after the recess [expected to start on Tuesday] I further direct that the Minister for the Interior should present to this House a policy statement on these recent murders [and] what steps are being taken to control the situation…”

By Richard Dela Sky/