By Joseph Kobla Wemakor
The Director of CareGuide Montessori School, located at Gbawe, in the Greater Accra Region, Mad. Betty Akumatey has called for government support to help augment various sensitization exercises on kidnapping being organized by some Non-Governmental and Civil Society Organizations in the country as a way of tackling the canker of abduction that has rocked the nation in recent times.
“I think the sensitization must go on from all levels and I believe that this is something that government should throw its weight behind”.
“It should go on in all social circles, churches and schools, homes, communities, wherever, and above all in the media, especially now that a lot of our children are using social media., we should have them sensitized at all fronts”.
Madam Akumatey made this known on the sidelines of a sensitization exercise on kidnapping conducted by the Human Rights Reporters Ghana(HRRG) during their visit to the CareGuide Montessori School, located at Gbawe, in the Greater Accra Region on Monday April 8, 2019.
The exercise which formed part of a campaign by the Human Rights group to rid Ghana of kidnapping issues which has become a phenomenon in recent times saw 250 kids made up of pupils of KG1 up to JHS 3 vigorously sensitized on the modus operandi, tricks, techniques and strategies employ by kidnappers to get their targets.
During the exercise, which was very interactive, the participants had turns to ask mindboggling questions on kidnapping and answers were adequately provided to their satisfaction.
The sensitization exercise was conducted in batches, taking level of the kids into consideration. It was conducted by the able team of HRRG volunteers made up of Nana Owusu Boadu, Beatrice Annan and Benjamin Hallo with support of the HRRG’s Executive Director, Mr. Joseph Kobla Wemakor.
The issue of kidnapping raised its ugly head in Ghana in August last year and continues to wreak havoc without any concrete solution.
The incredible disappearance of seven (7) girls in 2018 among others of which 3 of them from the Western Region are yet to be found still remains a mystery to unravel.
Kidnapping is the act of abducting, seizing or capturing someone and holding him/her captive against the law, and will of the person. While people are kidnapped and killed for rituals, blood money, and other evil motives, others are kidnapped, raped, killed and dumped on the streets.
The act leads to the violation of the freedom and fundamental human rights of kidnapped persons which is a criminal offence.
According to media reports, since invasion of the phenomenon in the country last year, young girls and children of school-going age have become the most affected.
The social issue has caught the attention of Human Rights Reporters Ghana(HRRG), an NGO championing human rights issues in Ghana to sensitize school children and the general public on the activities of kidnappers with the hope that the information will go a long way to help educate, inform and arm the public with strategies to help foil such attempts of kidnappers.
Madam Betty Akumatey, who is also an experienced sociologist, anthropologist and gender expert, in an interview described the issue of kidnapping as global phenomenon, but notes that it is currently taking root in our part of the world.
She therefore advised Ghanaians to be circumspect in extending the proverbial Ghanaian hospitality to strangers, and conscientize children accordingly, so that they don’t assume that everybody is kind.
According to her, that cultural perspective no longer holds, adding, “we can’t take these things for granted anymore because there are criminals creeping in from various societies, countries, especially we know what is happening in Nigeria, you know, It’s having a toll on us”.
“We are too welcoming of strangers and our children are also very welcoming of strangers and that puts them at risk”.
“We should all be vigilant now and not just trust anybody” She stressed.
While patting the Human Rights Reporters Ghana on the back for a good job done to sensitize school children and the public on the canker, she quickly appealed to other organization and individuals championing similar causes, including government, to collaborate to end the activities of kidnappers in the country.