A former security operative of the Bureau of National Investigation (BNI), now National Investigation Bureau (NIB), Professor Martin Oteng-Ababio, has bemoaned the processes of recruiting people into the country’s Security Services, particularly, the Police.
Prof. Oteng-Ababio who worked under the late former President Jerry John Rawlings disclosed that “the interference of politicians in the recruitment processes of personnel into our security services is the cause of what we are witnessing today”.
Prof Oteng-Ababio is currently the Head of the Department of Geography and Resource Development at the University of Ghana (UG), Legon.
According to the University Lecturer, “the process of recruitment into the security services lacks what he described as “positive vetting”, and urged Ghanaian politicians to stop meddling in the affairs of the country’s security.
He explained that in most cases, recruits’ backgrounds are not thoroughly checked because they were recruited on the express instructions of top political figures and end up sacrificing a vital security condition of checking the criminal record or background of every recruit applicant.
The situation, Prof. Obeng-Ababio lamented, is the result of the rise of armed robbery cases where some of the perpetrators, as recent arrests suggested, were members of the security services.
Therefore, the University Don questioned “where were the background checks of these suspected armed robbers who are also security operatives? Did we find out whether they had no criminal record, before being enlisted into the security services?
He again attributed the country’s worsening and fragile security situation to the unprofessional training of most personnel within the security agencies.
Prof. Oteng-Ababio made these observations on Amansan Television’s (ATV) current affairs show, ‘Asem Yi Dika’ on Monday, May 24, 2021. He was commenting on the recent surge in armed robbery cases and security brutalities in the country.
He, however, indicated, that there were good police officers in the system who could deliver if they would be allowed to work without political interferences and urged the government to up its game in the area of security “because it’s the foremost responsibility of the State to protect its citizens”.
“…If individuals have to protect themselves can you imagine the chaos it will create?”, he queried; and called on the government to ensure that security personnel is provided with the requisite equipment and tools that will enable them to work effectively.
Contributing to the discussion, Executive Director, Bureau of Africa Conflict and Security Management, Felix Kofi Mantey who was also on the show, advocated for a robust cybersecurity system to help detect crime areas.
Mr. Mantey who is also the Director of Communications of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), attributed the rise in the armed robbery incidents to unemployment and urbanization; declaring, “due to the unemployment situation in the country most of the youth have resorted to armed robbery as a means of survival”.
He was not happy that foreigners enter “our country anyhow without proper data on them”.
Meanwhile, our investigations show that violent crime, including armed robbery is on the rise in many parts of the capital city with most cases occurring at night. Our search also established that violent crimes result in more than 500 deaths each year.
Story: Atta KWAKU BOADI