The member of Parliament for Akatsi South, Hon Bernard Ahiafor has urged constituents to work in collaboration with all stakeholders to maintain peace and security in the Constituency.
According to him, the work of maintenance of Peace and Security in the Akatsi South Municipality, “is an issue of common, collective and mutual interest but not individual, a chief, opinion leader, MP, MCE, a youth, rich or poor but all of us.”
Hon Ahiafor made the call at the Avenor Senior Peers Chamber ( ASPÉC) annual Conference at Akatsi South in the Volta Region.
Below is the Full Statement
SPEECH DELIVERED BY HON. BERNARD AHIAFOR, MEMBER OF
PARLIAMENT FOR AKATSI SOUTH CONSTITUENCY ON AN
INVITATION BY THE AVENOR SENIOR PEERS CHAMBER (ASPEC) TO SPEAK ON MAINTENANCE OF PEACE AND SECURITY IN THE AKATSI SOUTH MUNICIPALITY: THE LEGAL PERSPECTIVE ON
THE 27TH DAY OF OCTOBER, 2023.
1. Madam Chairperson, permit me to stand on the existing protocol and with an honour done me to stand before you on this very significant occasion to speak to you on the topic “Maintenance of Peace and Security in the Akatsi South Municipality: The Legal Perspective”
2. Let me start by acknowledging and commending the efforts of ASPEC and all those who conceived the idea and contributed to the organisation of this program. Taking into consideration the recent incidences, the topic “Maintenance of Peace and Security in the Akatsi South Municipality: The Legal Perspective” is very apt, appropriate and timely.
3. Madam Chairperson, it is undeniable fact that I am the Member of Parliament for Akatsi South Constituency. However, I am first of all an indigen and a Lawyer of 21 years of good standing at the Bar. I am therefore seeking your indulgence to speak to you on the topic not only as a Member of Parliament but also as indigen and a Lawyer devoid of our usual Politics.
4. We are all gathered here this afternoon to again deliberate on Maintenance of Peace and Security in the Akatsi South Municipality, an issue of common, collective and mutual interest but not individual, a chief, opinion leader, MP, MCE, a youth, rich or poor but all of us. The deliberations began since yesterday and today I am to speak on the Legal Perspective of Maintenance of Peace and Security in the Akatsi South Municipality. In doing so, I am going to be very frank by calling a spade a spade but not a long spoon. Please nobody should take offence in the unlikely, very remote and far-flung event that stepped on anybody. I am seeking for forgiveness in advance.
5. Madam Chairperson, nonetheless, the active and operative words in the topic are peace and security. That is what we need to maintain in Akatsi South Municipality and we must first of all know what it means and stands for in society from the legal perspective. Peace is a stress-free state of calmness that comes when there is no fighting or war, everything coexists in perfect harmony and freedom. It means societal friendship and harmony in the absence of hostility and violence. Likewise, Security means a state of being free from danger or threat.
6. What then is the meaning of the phrase peace and security often used in common parlance as in the topic under reference. It implies a synergy, a complimentary state that is not present when violence and conflicts pervade a society or country. It is solid and legitimate rule of law system that protect and preserve the human rights of people holds power accountable, prevent violent, crime and provide fair, sincere and legitimate means to resolved conflict.
7. Madam Chairperson, Ladies and Gentlemen, having stated what peace and security is, I shall as much as possible relate it to the occurrences in Akatsi South Municipality such as Robbery of Motor Bike (Okada) Ridders, Mobile Money Operators and Business Men shooting and killing some of them in the process in a very brutal and atrocious manner, murdering a Pastor and the wife, clash between the Police and the Youth as a result of some alleged Police brutality and Youth demonstration leading to deaths, Cyber-Crimes otherwise known as Internet Fraud with which I am a victim. If you go onto the net, there are a lot of Facebook accounts bearing my name, pictures and others details of which I knew nothing about. And these fake accounts are being used to defraud innocent people. Stealing, Rape and Defilement among others are issues of much concern. Akatsi South is now on the Rader for crime that necessitated this foremost two days program of which we are having the conversation on the topic in question.
8. In fact, I had the privilege of reading beforehand my Learned friend, Mr Peter Samlafo’s speech on Legal and Constitutional Guarantees for Safety and Security in Ghana, the case of the Akatsi South Municipality in which he discussed Ghana as a circular states where law regulates the conduct of citizens and the fact that it is the law that rules, the Sources of law in article 11 of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, Equality and the supremacy of the law and the Constitution being the supreme law (see Article 17, article 1(2) of the 1992 constitution of Ghana the causes of the recent insecurity, I intend not to reiterate and repeat the same in my discussion but to build on the same.
9. Madam Chairperson, man is no longer living in a natural state of war but lives in a society or country is regulated by laws and laws are supposed to be obeyed and the procedures set by law are to be complied with. Law is a communicative action; it is an instrument of social engineering and it an aid to development. The law protects our life and property pursuant to Articles 13 and 20 of the 1992 constitution of Ghana. It guarantees our safety. It proscribes and forbids wrongdoing, misconduct, delinquency and all forms of crime in society and prescribes punishment for it.
10. The law also provides the procedure to be followed in accessing justice anytime the wrongdoing, misconduct, delinquency and crime are committed in society. It also prescribes punishment for the said wrongdoing, misconduct, delinquency and crime. In law, nothing is a crime if at the time it is done, there is no law that makes it a crime and punishment prescribed for it. Please see Article 19(11) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana. It also important to know that if a procedure is set down by law for a right to be exercised, that procedure alone must be followed in exercising the right.
11. Ladies and Gentlemen, every incident that happened at Akatsi, Municipality some of which I have mentioned above constitutes a crime under the laws of the Republic of Ghana and the punishment for these crimes are prescribed, particularly in the Criminal and Other Offences (Act, 1960) Act 29 and the (Public Order Act 1994) Act 491. The procedure for seeking justice is governed by the Criminal Procedure Act, 1960 Act 30. Murder, Armed Robbery, stealing, defrauding by false pretences, Harbouring of criminal with conspiracy, aiding and abetment as inchoate offences among others are governed by Law.
12. Madam Chairperson, in every society, some are morally righteous but others are to the contrary and Akatsi South Constituency is of no exception. Some members of the Municipality are not law abiding. A society that its members are law abiding enjoys utmost peace and security. However, some people in Akatsi South Municipality choose to be Armed Robbers, Murderers, Fraudsters, etc. Crime is on the increase and thereby creating insecurity and disturbing our peace in the municipality. In fact, Police are by law to protect life and property and to safeguard our peace and security. Excesses in doing so, sometime result into clash between the Police and the Youth resulting into needless death and other forms of harm.
13. If a wrong doing occurred and you are seeking justice, the law is that a complaint must be lodged with the Police against the person for an arrest, investigation and consequent prosecution in a Court of competent jurisdiction leading to conviction and sentence or acquittal. Justice emanates from the people of Ghana and it is exercised on their behalf by the judiciary. See Article 125(1) of the Constitution of Ghana. It is said that two wrongs do not make right and we cannot take the law into our own hands to seek instant justice. The law is that all suspects must be deemed innocent until proven guilty at the Court of competent jurisdiction. See Article 19(2)(c) of the 1992 constitution. We need to follow the law each time a crime is committed. Crime is also against the Republic and it is the Attorney General that has exclusive jurisdiction to prosecute all crime. I cannot prosecute, no chief can prosecute and you cannot prosecute.
14. Madam Chairperson, Police officers are human and since in human society, some are morally righteous but others are to the contrary, so it may be in the Police service and other services. Some Police officers can also commit a crime and they are not above the law. They are dealt with under the same laws. There is a unit in the Police Service known as the Police Intelligent and Professional Standard Bureau (PIPS) that deals with issues concerning the conduct of the Police in Ghana each time a Report is made to them. And once the fact is established, the Police Officer(s) involved in the wrongful act are dealt with.
15. Actually, there is no law that mandates anybody to kill, harm or attack a perceived criminal or attack Police Station on the basis of a crime on the part of a Police Officer. He who does so is intern committing a crime under the laws. If a suspected criminal is arrested by the Police and in the custody of the Police, it does not accord with the common sense and reason to go to the Police Station to demand the release of that person to you as youth
to kill because he has also been accused of killing. This act is unlawful across the world.
16. It is observable from investigations that the main crimes at Akatsi, the majority of the Criminals are not from the Akatsi Municipality. Very insignificant number of them are indigens. Again, some few indigens are also harbouring and giving the criminals the necessary links and direction to commit crime. When these crimes are committed then Akatsi’s name becomes a topic of discussion in a bad light. It is not everything that I can say here, but I know most of the criminals are arrested, prosecuted and punished, some are facing trial at various Courts and others are under investigation. Efforts are being made by the Police and other security agencies to get those at large.
17. In Ghana, we have passed into law the Whistle Blowers 2006 (Act 720) and recently amended in Parliament. This law gives the protection to those who report suspected criminals in our society to the appropriate authorities. Sometimes, we know the criminals but fail to report them. We rather allow ourselves to be misled, instigated and incited by some people to demonstrate and fight the Police without permit under the Public Order Act which is itself a criminal offence. This spontaneous act rather derails and disrupts the police and other security agencies from carrying out a purposive investigation and arresting the perpetrators of the crime. How can we be demonstrating and fighting the very authority which is an establishment by Law, in our case the Ghana Police Service and still expect them to investigate, and arrest the Criminals? Take it from me that organising demonstration without permit constitutes a crime.
18. In fact, Maintenance of Peace and Security in the Akatsi South Municipality is by law my responsibly, your responsibility and our responsibility. We the youth need to form watchdogs in our communities to ward off criminals rather than going on radio to incites the youth against the chiefs, the opinion leaders, the MP, the MCE among others. It sounds so strange, bizarre and inexplicable that young men rather blame old men for maintenance of Peace and Security when the overwhelming majority of the criminals are youth. Peace and security have no political colour and takes into accounts your status either. We must all be involved.
19. On this note, we need to know that the wheel of justice grinds slowly and the law travels at snail pace. However, it gets to its destination. We know in our criminal jurisprudence that justice delayed is justice denied but justice must not only be done but it must manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done. Let’s hasten slowly in our demand for speedy and urgent justice which has the tendency to result in injustice.
20. I am really appreciative of the organisation of this program and the opportunity given me to speak on the topic. I urge you all to be law abiding, not to take the law into our own hands and to report the criminals and suspected criminals in our municipality and allow them to face the full rigours of the law. It is only when we abide by the laws and report the criminals, that Akatsi South Municipality can enjoy the peace and security that we require.
I pray for that ultimate understanding of the situation at hand, so we can achieve the actual result for Peace and Harmonious living.
Long live Akatsi South Municipality Long live Ghana God bless us all.
Thank you for the attention