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Regional News of Saturday, 25 September 2021

Source: crimecheckghana.org

Neglect of the poor increases crime rate - Ibrahim Oppong Kwarteng

Executive Director, CCF, Ibrahim Oppong Kwarteng speaking during the training Executive Director, CCF, Ibrahim Oppong Kwarteng speaking during the training

The Executive Director of Crime Check Foundation (CCF), Ibrahim Oppong Kwarteng has bemoaned Ghana’s deteriorating Social Welfare System. He said the situation has contributed to high poverty levels and there is the need to intervene to help reduce the canker.

Speaking at a training for a Citizen Monitoring Team (CMT) under the Decriminalisation of Vagrancy Laws and Advocacy (DVLA) project in Accra funded by the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), Mr. Kwarteng said successive governments have failed to lay down sustainable interventions to help the poor and vulnerable persons in society. He noted that such people have been neglected due to their status.

He said the situation has led to increasing crime rates so it is imperative to empower the poor. “Our Social Welfare System has collapsed. People living in abject poverty should have benefited from monthly stipends from the government because of their situation but currently, that is not the situation in the country,” he said.

He added, "Many poor persons have been jailed for petty offences like stealing bananas but politicians who usually loot the public purse of huge sums of money are walking free. They have failed us."

The project lead urged the CMT who would be monitoring and following up on abuses against vagrants in their various assemblies to be committed and dedicated to their task as it is their contribution to national development.

“This is your service to humanity and the nation. You may not receive big rewards on earth but God Himself will give you the greater reward. Your job will give the dejected and the poor hope so execute it with fulfillment. If other NGOs emulate our work, Ghana would be rid of poverty.” He wooed them.

The Project Co-ordinator, Cosmos Akorli encouraged the members of the CMT to fight for the rights of vagrants because they do not have the voice to defend themselves. He said their work is crucial in helping to scrap vagrancy laws because it will keep duty bearers on their toes.

“If OSIWA and CCF do not intervene, poor persons will continue to suffer. Your work will make those in authority sit up and help reduce abuses against vagrants,” he was optimistic.

The team members, mostly Unit Committee Members shared their thoughts on the programme whiles promising their commitment for the task ahead. A representative from La Nkwantanang Madina Municipal Assembly, Hajia Sadia Is-haq said, "I will channel my energy to fight for the underprivileged especially women because the training has enlightened me."

“I will be the voice of the voiceless in my area," a Unit Committee Member from Saltpond, Mary Mintah also said.



For the Ashaiman Municipal Unit Committee Member, Cornelius Joe Amenyuie, "From today I will disassociate myself from any activity that infringes upon the rights of vagrants."

Emmanuel Agbevenu added, "I did not know what I had to do as a Unit Committee Member in Ashaiman. This programme has been an eye-opener for me."

About OSIWA

The Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), established in 2000, is a grant-making and advocacy organization focused on equality, justice, democratic governance, human rights, and knowledge generation. It is part of the global network of Open Society Foundations spread across 37 countries around the world. He said the Assemblies outrageously fine these vagrants for committing petty offences.

Citizens’ Complaints: To report harassment and potential imprisonment under a local assembly bye-law, please contact or whatsApp: 0559544199 / 0507353539.

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