Members of Parliament (MPs) have condemned the rising spate of brutal killings in the country and called for the intensification of efforts at bringing the perpetrators to book.
They said while they could not be certain about the actual causes of the crimes, some of the recent murders bore the semblance of contract killing in which people who had scores to settle with others hired assassins to terminate the lives of others.
They expressed the fear that MPs could become targets of the criminals and called for the provision of security for all legislators.
The MPs were contributing to statements made by the MP for Ablekuma West, Ms Ursula Owusu, and the MP for Akyem Swedru, Mr Kennedy Osei-Nyarko, on the recent murders in the country.
The recent murders
In March 2014 alone, three major murder cases were reported in the media.
On March 13, 2014, a 30-year-old man, Fennec Okyere, was murdered in his home in the night.
Fennec was the manager of hip-life musician, Kwaw Kesse.
Three days earlier, on March 10, 2014, the Chief of Joma, a village near Ablekuma in Accra, Nii Ayitey Noyaatse, was shot dead in his bedroom.
Other gruesome murders included that of Mr Kwesi Sakyi Prah, the 34-year-old manager of the Akosombo branch of the Zenith Bank, and Mr Emmanuel Asante Akuffo, a 41-year-old banker with the Fidelity Bank, who was shot and robbed in February this year.
In December 2013, Rosemond Nyampong, a 32-year-old woman who worked at the Stanbic Bank was murdered in her house.
Other recent murders include that of the Chief of Seikwa in the Brong Ahafo Region, Nana Kwaku Dwomo Ankoana, who was shot in his house; a 26-year-old vulcaniser, Rash I’d Mustapha, whose body was found in the Aboabo Forest in Tamale, and 29-year-old network engineer who was shot several times at his residence in Tamale.
Ursula Owusu’s views
Ms Owusu said while some of the killings could have been done on a contract basis, some of the perpetrators could also be armed robbers who assaulted their victims before or after robbing them.
“The rising tension in our society, the 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,” she said.
“How prepared and equipped are our police to provide protection to us?” she asked, and said anyone could become a victim of the criminals.
She called on the law enforcement agencies to conduct thorough investigations, arrest and successfully prosecute the killers, as well as the instigators and organisers of the crimes.
Ms Owusu called on the police to expand their night patrol coverage and intensify public education on how criminals operated and what the public should do when faced with dangerous situations.
Police hotlines and emergency numbers, she said, should be publicised more, while prompt action should be taken on incidents reported to the police.
She called for the provision of security for all MPs, as pertaining to the Judiciary and the Executive.
“Let us not wait till one of us falls victim to these marauding ‘criminals for hire’ before we act,” she said.
Mr Osei-Nyarko said the Ghana Police Service was doing a good job, especially its recent high visibility policing, but said the police needed to intensify patrolling in the neighbourhoods, especially during power outages, so that criminals could be tracked and their acts prevented.
He also called on the police to make known their investigations, so that citizens could factor the results of their investigations into their daily activities.
The MP for Garu, Mr Dominic Azumah, said information sharing was very crucial in solving crimes and said it was only through effective collaboration between the police and the public that such crimes could be solved.
He said the impunity with which crimes were being committed in Ghana today was unacceptable and added that the police needed to act to assure the nation that they were on top of issues.
The MP for Kwabre East, Mr Kofi Frimpong, wondered how the criminals came by the sophisticated guns they used in committing the crimes.
He said there was the need to track weapons such as AK-47 as part of strategies to address the problem.
Other contributors included Mr Gershon Gbediame (NDC, Nkwanta South), Mr Joe Appiah (NPP, Ablekuma North) and Nii Lante Vanderpuye (NDC, Odododiodoo).
The First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr Ebo Barton-Odro, who presided over affairs, directed that the contributions be sent to the Ministry of the Interior and the minister made to present to the House a policy statement on the issue.