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Opinions of Thursday, 23 November 2017

Columnist: K. Badu, UK

Do we really expect the police to take chances on armed robbers?

Police shot some suspected armed robbers in Asawase after they tried to escape Police shot some suspected armed robbers in Asawase after they tried to escape

The recent police operation at Asawase in Kumasi which led to the death of two armed robbery suspects amid irrevocable uproar amongst family and policy makers is, indeed, a sensitive issue that must be handled with care.

We should not also lose sight of the fact that there have been numerous occasions that some police officers have regrettably lost their lives in the hands of armed robbers.

Much as the said police officers have a duty of care, the officers cannot take chances when dealing with obdurate criminals who are obviously careless about human lives.

“Mr Ambrose Dery, the Minister of the Interior, on Wednesday said the two suspected criminals in Police custody at Asawase in the Ashanti Region, who were shot in an attempt to escape, had been robbing and terrorizing residents of Kumasi.

“According to him, the suspects were shot dead when they attempted to escape custody, whilst the police conducted a search at one of their hideouts to retrieve weapons” (See: ‘Murder suspects were terrorising residents of Kumasi-Minister’;, 22/11/2017).

Many observers would agree with me that in recent times, there have been unprecedented (apologies to the late Mills) criminal activities in our communities.

What appears baffling to many discerning citizens though, is the fact that the suspects continued to have an unfettered fun.

Even if they, the suspects, are found guilty, their heinous crimes often do not correspond with their punishments.

They often seek refuge in the human rights provisions. But all said and done, in my view, the proponents of human rights often goof in their interpretations.

Certainly, it goes without saying that routinely, criminals “get away with murder”, all in the name of human rights. In other words, criminals often get justice, while the victims and their love ones get the raw deal they do not deserve.

Of course, I am in agreement with the assumption that one is innocent until the individual is found guilty. Obviously, that is an honourable thing to do in attempting to unravel the jigsaw.

But then again, my bone of contention is, why should an armed robber who has made it a habit to rob and take lives be treated with kid’s gloves?

Suffice it to state that ‘everyone has the right to life, according to Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The right to life, as a matter of fact, is a non-derogable right-no one has the God given right to take another person’s life.

And what is more, Article One of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. Human beings are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”

So, why must criminals take the life of another and get away with it? Needless to say, even the Holy Book, the Bible, tells us that whoever brandishes a gun should die from the gun. That, for me, is a pragmatic stance. ‘An eye for an eye’, even though that will make the whole world go ‘blind’ (Gandhi).

And, why mustn’t we resort to such a draconian measure, if that will indeed curb the alarming criminal activities in our homes, on the streets and in our work places.

Astonishingly, if we peruse our daily tabloids, turn on our Televisions and Radios; they are always reporting the abhorrent activities of armed robbers. Obviously, I am not referring to petty thieves-pocket pickers, goat, yam, plantain or cassava thieves. I am referring to thieves who are often equipped with machine guns, semi-automatic weapons, bazookas, and rifles.

They, the scumbags, are well marshalled, and they routinely carry out their infamous activities with military precisions, and can strike as lighting, and as deadly and destructive as molten magma.

For it is my fervent hope that none of my dear ones, friends, minions, or even my enemies, ever fall a victim to these boisterous and homicidal scumbags. These armed robbers are indeed brutal, heartless, vicious, and are scumbags of the highest order.

In fact, if you inadvertently come into contact with these ‘homicidal brats, and fortunate enough to survive the ordeal, you will remain the luckiest person on the planet. In other words, an unfortunate encounter with these brats is simply an illustrative case of “a dead man walking”.

Indeed, the activities of these scumbags know no bounds. These scumbags wickedly go about stripping their victims of their hard-earned money and possessions. And, they rape, maim, kill, and leaving their victims frightened for life.

Actually, the activities of these scumbags do not end on the highways alone. They, the brats, carry their activities to our homes, banks, businesses, and market places. Therefore it is not surprising that after putting up beautiful houses, and installing doors and windows, you still have to fortify them with extra burglary iron bars.

In actual fact, people have become prisoners in their homes, primarily due to the activities of these homicidal hoodlums.

Honestly, these hoodlums are making life very unbearable for citizens and also discouraging potential investors from making any meaningful investments in the country. Thus, it is incumbent on the authorities to curb the activities of the shameless hoodlums.

We must not and cannot look on unconcerned and give in to potential nation wreckers. To this end, I will urge all Ghanaians to endeavour to collaborate with the security forces to ‘fish out’ the dissolute criminals in our midst.

Perhaps, some citizens are harbouring these scumbags-armed robbers. And, whatever their reasons, it is somehow inconsequential for a true Ghanaian to shield an armed robber.

Of course, whistle blowing is volitional. However, betraying these potential nation wreckers will go a long way to brighten a corner!

Again, I would suggest that any enactment should make it unlawful for anyone to knowingly shield an armed robber. And the punishment for such act should be extreme.

As a matter of fact, we cannot and must not sit idly and allow these scumbags to win the battle; bring back the capital punishment in armed robbery cases.

To be quite honest, we should not be sending them to prisons and feed them, only for them to come out and terrorise us more. That, for me, is inconsequential. Let them swallow their own bitter pills! Exterminate them!

More importantly, we should not bow easily to the International Non-Governmental Organisations (INGO’s) such as the Amnesty International and the Human Rights Watch because they do not taste the insipid pills being given to us by the armed robbers. Annihilate them!

And, in default of appropriate measures to curb the appalling practices of armed robbers, it will go down as dereliction of duty on the part of the executive and the legislature. For you are obliged to protect the citizens, denizens and potential investors, so, act now, because procrastination is not the solution to a potential problem!