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Regional News of Thursday, 24 February 2022


Traditional authorities in Okper bemoan rising spate of crime, substance abuse

Seyelor Kwaku Adamptey of Adjikpo Okper Nakuyo Seyelor Kwaku Adamptey of Adjikpo Okper Nakuyo

Correspondence from Eastern Region

Some traditional leaders in the Okper Division of the Yilo Krobo Traditional Area in the Eastern Region have expressed concern about the increasing spate of crime and drug abuse among the youth in recent times.

According to them, the security and socio-economic development of the areas were being adversely affected following criminal activities and other social vices by drug addicts.

Seyelor Kwaku Adamptey of Adjikpo Okper Nakuyo estimates that the vast majority of young people in his area were active drug users.

“My community for instance is becoming worse off. I can say that about 80% of the youth, those between let’s say the ages of 15 to 25 thereabout, about 80% of them are into these kinds of activities,” he noted.

He continued: “There are places that they call ghetto houses whatever and ironically, a lot of these boys are not indigenes rather but people from elsewhere, maybe the Somanya town itself and they come to the place as their hideout. That’s where they come to hide to go into this kind of activities and therefore, stealing is so rampant that even when people wash their clothing and they dry them on their drying line before they return they’re no more.”

The traditional leader added that domestic animals and personal effects were not left but also stolen from homes by the criminals.

According to him, residents who alight from vehicles at odd hours are tracked and robbed of their personal effects, adding that the hoodlums engaged in the acts to use the proceeds to purchase the drugs.

“You can see that they just need something to buy these drugs that they can consume for the day, tramadol, I even hear they are using super glue. I hear some of them whatever they’ll do to get cocaine or whatever to sniff and this ‘asra’ and all sorts of things that you cannot imagine young ones like them to go into it,” said the Seyelor.

He blamed the situation on lack of parental care and the fear of parents and guardians to condemn the activities of their children involved in substance abuse.

Asked if the police have been notified of the incidents, Seyelor Adamptey said, “Yes, severally, the police have been coming for their swoops and whenever they come, I don’t know if they have some agents among the police or whatever, before their arrival, they would scatter.

“I have been seeing the police, I have been there severally to invite the police themselves, I have seen their presence in the community but it is not stopping,” said the Seyelor.

He fears that security in the area could be further compromised if the situation is not checked as aggrieved residents were bent on taking the law into their hands against the culprits. “What I fear is you know this instant justice, that is what some of them come to prompt me that if we don’t do anything about it then kinds of instant justices could come in which I’ve also been preventing them from doing.”

He blamed landlords who rent out their rooms to the outcasts to enable them to put up in the community to engage in crime.

Asafoatse of Okper Manaam shared similar sentiments with GhanaWeb. Asafoatse Tetteh Amoh Obledjimah IV said his area hitherto used to be a decent community, unfortunately, the same cannot be said about the area today due to the rising spate of crime and substance abuse.

“The abuse of drugs has become a bigger challenge in the community which I’d plead with government agencies to bring in people or resource people to educate the youth on the abuse of drugs,” said the traditional leader, adding that the culprits could be engaging in the acts out of ignorance.

He also blamed the situation on poor parental guidance and called for sustained education for the youth on the effects of substance abuse. He said, “When education goes through, they’ll know the bad effects of using drugs and some of them will change.”

As part of efforts to discourage the youth from the practice, Asafoatse Tetteh Amoh Obledjimah IV indicated that he personally counsels the youth that he knows are involved in substance abuse.

Somanya District Police Commander, Supt, Andrews Anyani when reached for his response urged residents to report such cases to the police for the necessary action.

“We cannot rule out that fact that these criminals don’t have their hideouts, they have but it behooves on the communities to be able to lead police through these areas to track them down but if you know them and you don’t bring them to my notice, how can I know that these people are here?” he quizzed.