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Address Menace Of Armed Gangs Now — CJ


Chief Justice: Mrs Justice Georgina Theodora WoodAddress Menace Of Armed Gangs Now — CJ

The Chief Justice, Mrs Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, has underscored the need for the country to address the growing menace of armed gangs which, she said, could grow into well organised and armed terrorist groups.

She said the activities of armed gangs, who had constituted themselves into “galamsey” miners, illegal loggers and land guards, were a potential threat to national security.

The Chief Justice gave the caution in a paper presented on her behalf at the second annual Wetse Kojo/King James Memorial Lectures in Accra by Mrs Justice Rebecca Sittie, a Justice of the High Court.

Her topic was, “Protecting our heritage from money launderers and terrorists: The role of traditional authorities”, and the lecture was organised by the Ngleshie-Alata Traditional Council, with the support of the British High Commission and others.

The lectures, which began last year and are expected to bridge the gaps in modern traditional leadership, focus on topics relating to traditions and customs, human capital development and capacity building.

Armed gangs and robbers

Justice Wood cautioned that “like Boko Haram, some of these groups could grow into well-organised and well-armed terrorist groups with international connections if action is not taken now”.

Quoting a statement made by a security expert at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre, Dr Kwesi Aning, she said, “Boko Haram did not come out of the blue, as it took about 10 years for it to mature to this stage, all because we failed to deal with it when it started.”

She said another area of concern was the spate of armed robbery and listed conditions that gave rise to the menace as youth unemployment, greed, the get-rich attitude and the dissatisfaction among the youth with regard to the management of natural resources by their elders and traditional authorities.

Interventions by traditional authorities

To deal with the looming threat posed by money laundering and terrorism, the Chief Justice proposed educational and skills development, youth involvement in agriculture and the proper management of revenue from natural resources.

“Once they are pursuing serious academic work or engaged in useful skills training programmes, it becomes difficult for the youth to be easily influenced to get involved in money laundering and other crimes such as drug trafficking, gun running, ‘land guardism’ as vigilantes and terrorism,” she said.

To attract the youth into farming, Mrs Justice Wood recommended the provision of start-up capital.

She urged traditional authorities to “regulate how lands are paid for by creating transparency and accountability in their administration of the revenue that comes to them” and encourage the payment of funds through the financial institutions, so that the funds could be scrutinised to prevent money laundering.

The Ngleshie Alata Traditional Area in particular was encouraged by the Chief Justice to carve a niche for itself by utilising its beaches for fibre glass boat and ship building and creating employment for the youth as guards and cleaners in the hotels and the tourism industry and also as artisans.

Source: Graphic.com.gh



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