IGP David Asante-Apeatu
The Ghana Police Service’s response to a purported claim by a certain Agya Yaw Yeboah that some government officials are behind the supply of firearms to armed robbers is a step in the right direction. We doff our hats for the action and ask that more of such actions be undertaken as effective means of stemming criminalities in the country, especially involving firearms.
Our excitement is driven by the possibility that being an ex-armed robber as he claims, he definitely knows a lot that could be beneficial to law enforcement, especially in the war against armed robbery.
On another score, if he was only talking loosely – the way some persons do on the FM stations across the country – without basis, the effect of which is the destruction of the hard-won integrity of persons still in public service and also threatening the peace of the country, let him face the music.
Should it turn out that the suspect has cogent reasons for his remarks, society would be the winner because the information at his disposal could lead to the names behind the robberies. On the other hand, if he is one of the many who talk recklessly, the law enforcement agents could start the war against irresponsible talk not at a cost to freedom of expression though, with the former robber, if indeed he was.
It is our wish therefore that he would be treated humanely, without coercion whatsoever, so that the much-needed cooperation required of him would be forthcoming.
The new political order in the country has opened us up to positive developments. In previous times such irresponsible talks were varied and emanated from the lips of persons associated with the ruling party for which no law enforcement actions could be instituted against them. While some of them claimed brazenly on air that they were responsible for the murders of many persons in their parts of the country, others threatened judges, including the Chief Justice, and even reminding them about the nightmarish murder of the three high court judges by agents of a junta. That was how bad things had degenerated, yet those at the throttles of governance found nothing untoward with the poisoned airwaves. It was only public pressure which led to the eventual incarceration of the sources of the poisoned expressions.
We cannot as a people allow irresponsible talks on radio because we do not know when these could lead to such bad nuts inciting their ilk to take up arms and fight. God forbid!
It is for the police to monitor the airwaves to ensure that those who do not censure what they say are controlled. That surely is not an attempt at derailing the freedom of expression of the people, never, but just ensuring responsible conduct.
If for instance, the former robber at the centre of this commentary is able to convince the police that indeed when he was in active criminality, public officials supplied them with firearms, he would have contributed immensely towards the emancipation of the country from the shackles of armed robbers.