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Samson's Take: Lydia Forson knows her rights, you should too

Comment: Law enforcers do not know the law

Author:
Kofi Ata, Cambridge, UK
Date:
2018-01-28 13:07:33
Comment to:
Samson's Take: Lydia Forson knows her rights, you


The sad fact in Ghana is that law enforcing officers (the police, army, BNI, etc) themselves do not know the law. As a result, they wrongly assume that it's their rights to act in a particular way by abusing even law abiding citizens and members of the public. They turn duties and responsibilities of ensuring the safety and security of the public into rights to abuse and misbehave. Until these law enforcement officers understand their roles, their duties and limitations of their positions, abuse of innocent citizens will go on unabated in Ghana.

Often the culture of "I will show you where power lies" and the general mentality of Ghanaians make the situation even worse. With a population the majority of who do not know their rights and cannot insist on asserting their rights, abuse by not only law enforcement officers but also by the rich and powerful is the order of the day.

For example, here in the UK if you contact the police for assistance to evict someone from a property (be land or a house) you will be asked to produce a court order or be told that is a civil case so you must get a lawyer or go to court. Not even a minister can order the police to assist in such illegal acts. The police will refuse such orders. But in Ghana police officers, the army and BNI regularly assist in such illegal acts without any sanctions.

Until such officers are punished for taking the law into their own hands, such abuses will continue. The alternative is for citizens who suffer such abuses to sue the employer and the individual perpetrators at court for damages and that will send a warning to them that they cannot take the law into their own hands. It's difficult to make the perpetrator a defendant in the suit but if it can be proven that his or her actions were unreasonable, irrational and no reasonable human being would have behaved that way in similar circumstances, then the individual could be made party to the suit. I advise Lydia Forson to sue.

Finally, all such officers as part of their training should be taught basic principle of human rights, their powers and limitations. That is, what they can and cannot do.

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