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General News of Friday, 24 March 2017


MPs must get one policeman each – Maj. Derek Oduro

The chairman of parliament’s committee for defense, Major Derek Oduro, has backed calls for security at Ghana’s parliament to be strengthened in the wake of a terror attack at the British Parliament, saying one police officer should be assigned to each MP.

According to him, although the security at Ghana’s parliament has improved significantly over a period, “it is still not the best.”

Speaking on Eyewitness News, Major Derek Oduro said, the caliber of persons in parliament required adequate protection be provided to the house to ensure that their lives are protected. “The security in parliament was formerly not good. It was nothing to write home about. But this time, I think we have seen some improvement.

The police presence in parliament has gone up, previously it was not like that, but it is not the best…Judging the number that we have in parliament here, the number of VIPs here, we thought that it is inadequate,” he said. Some Ghanaians have challenged the idea of providing more security for Members of Parliament when some of their constituencies in the country lacked adequate security and had suffered various forms of attacks.

But according to the Nkoranza north legislator, the country was yet to meet the required United Nations’ ratio of one police officer to 500 people, but that does not prevent MPs from being given adequate protection. “Because we have inadequacies in parts of the country, we say we are not going to give protection for the ministers MPs and VIPS? No, we have to do it.

As long as we keep making police available to the citizenry, we have to take care of the VIPs too,” he said. He suggested that, having a police officer dedicated to each MP, will help increase their security. He noted that, many MPs due to official assignments drove home alone very late at night and that was not safe. “The MPs want what the state can provide. If the state does not have the capacity to provide what we want, there is nothing we can do. [But] if one bodyguard is given to parliamentarians after a day’s work, deep in the night, this man can protect you and take you home and bring you back.

You go to your constituency, late at night, you know that you have security so you manage and go,” he said. “If the government will be in the position to provide one police to a department, we can have enough, but we don’t have to lose sight of the civilian, the population, who voted for us. They must also get adequate security,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Member of Parliament for Keta constituency has said that the state must put key security measures in place around parliament’s chamber to ensure that anyone who seeks to enter the parliament building is accredited to do so.

He said the current chamber was unsafe as the public had easy access of the house. He added that, the state must find a balance in ensuring that while MPs were offered adequate protection, security for the citizenry must also be enhanced.