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Opinions of Saturday, 10 August 2013

Columnist: Owusu-Gyamfi, Clifford

Walls around houses are useless

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For security reasons, building a wall around your house is a strict requirement in Ghana. I remember some time ago I went to a district office to secure permission to commence a building project. After carefully going through the building plan, the man suggested to me that he didn’t see any wall in the plan. After series of interrogation, he said to me that without a wall plan, I cannot put up the building because it’s a legal requirement.
I have been pondering over the pros and cons of building a wall around a house in Ghana. At first, I thought that walls were primarily meant to secure the land from encroachment. I least thought about it for security reasons because I have had doubts that walls around houses does not provide any security than aiding crime and exposure to numerous disadvantages. I will make my points simple and reasonable in this piece.
Criminals always get over the wall
How many criminals have been frustrated by walls? They are always within or without the wall. Our house always gets robbed despite our gigantic wall.
Walls cost money
Many walls and entrance gates built in Ghana can cost about two furnished bed rooms. Many people may shrug off but it’s a wise economic decision if one can save those cedis for something else.
Walls block house view
I don’t think it’s reasonable to spent millions of cedis to build a classic house just to be enveloped in by a 10ft wall. Houses don’t only provide shelter they beautify and modernize the community as well. Don’t grow grasses and flowers within a wall. Get exposed.
Walls aid crime
When a criminal jump over a wall and enters a private premise the tenants are more prone to danger than a house without a wall. This is because neighbors don’t see what is happening inside. Neighbors easily notice and create awareness of strange people walking around private premises if there be no walls.
Walls destroy clues
When a criminal gets over a wall he vanishes. This is not because he has some magical powers. Simply, the tenants didn’t see which direction he went. If you miss the direction, you lose all clues.
Walls intensify flooding

There is easy flooding when there are so many walled houses within vulnerable vicinities. Rushing water becomes denser and intensifies flooding beyond bounds.
Many people might think that building without a wall is an exposure to danger. That is absolutely far the opposite. In my candid opinion, building of walls around houses is like building your own prison house. You shut yourself in and get expose to many unfortunate dangerous phenomena. The advantages of an open compound over weighs the advantages of houses with walls. If we need something to build, we must build our security forces in Ghana.

-- Clifford Owusu-Gyamfi
University of Lausanne, Switzerland

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