`One of the worrying headlines last week was the arrest of a Ghanaian political party youth organizer at Heathrow Airport in the United Kingdom after his botched cocaine smuggling into that country.
What was an exclusive story to the DAILY GUIDE but carried without such important details such as the name and picture, was last week confirmed by the Greater Accra Regional Minister who is also a member of the Parliamentary Committee on Defence and Interior.
We would rather the subject is treated as a criminality, avoiding the political touch so that the appropriate sanctions are applied accordingly. The politicization of such subjects, especially when the suspects belong to a ruling party, end up being swept under the carpet and the necessary deterrence lost.
We find the development not only inappropriate, but mind-boggling. We are tempted as are most Ghanaians, to think that the suspect abused his position as a member of a ruling party to smuggle the stuff outside the country.
If the said organizer, well connected as he is, was able to elude the so-called monitors at the Kotoka International Airport in Ghana, then it presupposes that many are they who have used a template.
We have learnt but stand to be corrected, that he too used the VVIP lounge at the airport. Perhaps this calls for investigation to establish the authenticity of the allegation. Such authentication can underline the shortcomings at the airport and whether these are deliberately created to facilitate such illegal activities or they are a manifestation of the challenges being encountered by the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) officials deployed to the airport.
It is important to find out whether those who belong to the ruling party are able to abuse their connectivity to push drugs using the nation’s premier airport.
We recall the Nayele cocaine case and the accompanying embarrassment this attracted for the country. There is no gainsaying the fact that Ghanaians, especially those touting diplomatic passports, will be viewed with suspicion by narcotics control operatives at foreign airports – an embarrassment shared by all of us as citizens of this country.
We can bet that the arresting officers have established already that the suspect is an official of the ruling party, especially since they have already quizzed him. We just pray that he did not bear a diplomatic passport. We would however, be surprised if he does not bear one, given the ease with which the restricted travel document is acquired in the country these days – available for even serial callers.
The regional minister’s confirmation was contained in a general discussion about the challenges being faced by NACOB in the execution of its mandate at the airport. While acknowledging the fact that a challenged NACOB will not be able to perform to the standards of international best practices, we nonetheless hold the view that the loopholes which enable people with links to the corridors of power smuggle narcotics stuff outside the country are created on purpose.
Perhaps identifying those on duty on the departure date of Ali Horoya – the youth organizer – could lead us somewhere, if indeed there is appetite to probe further.