Kidnapping scare: Teachers of public schools living in fear over inadequate security personnel, improper measures

Inadequate security personnel coupled with improper safety measures on campuses of some public schools in the country have become a major cause of worry to teachers in recent times. In an era where abductions and violent crimes appeared to be on the ascendancy, the teachers have expressed utmost fear for the lives of children.

Some teachers of Accra College of Education-Demonstration School, located at Legon in Accra who earlier shared their frustration in an interview with a team of Human Rights Reporters Ghana (HRRG), said they fear the children are at risk of getting kidnapped if the situation at hand is not improved. The HRRG team of volunteers were at the school premise last Friday, June 7, to educate the entire school population on kidnapping and its related issues to guide them in taking precautions to avoid being victims.

One of the teachers explained the inadequacy of security personnel coupled with lack of improper security measures on campus has compelled teachers to remain after school hours (2-3 hours) to ensure that every child is gone home before they leave the school compound. “We have about 700 pupils in school and parents come in with different cars to pick them up.

Related Post: Ghana Must Step Up Sensitization on Kidnapping – Human Rights Reporters Ghana

So we are mostly afraid that a stranger may just come and pick them up therefore we are forced to wait in the school for two to three hours more after closing to make sure every child is gone before we finally leave” He added, “It is very appalling and taking much of our time so we wish the authorities should come in and do something about it”.

The teacher averred that the school has only two security guards which manned its gate, “one works during the day while the other at night but we still think we need more”. According to him, it is the school that is responsible for payment of salaries of the two security men on post which it does take care of through its Internal Generated Fund(IGF), a situation he describes as a financial burden to the school and wants government to step in, take up the responsibility and employ more security men to guard the school in a bid to help improve upon security and safeguard students on campus.

Another teacher who also raised a similar concern about the security issues on campus suggested that parents should be made to present a form of identification at the school gate to indicate they are the true parents or guardians for the matter the ones responsible for the upkeep of the children to allay fears of teachers of any danger.

While admitting that the school has a weak security system which poses risks to the well-being of children on campus, she equally appealed to the authorities to come to the aid of the school and help strengthen the security system to avert the threat of kidnapping.

Headmistress of the School, Doris Akosua Arku commended the Human Rights Reporters Ghana for taking their time of busy schedules to visit the school and conduct the sensitization exercise. She appealed to the organization to continue their good works towards the betterment of mother Ghana and always make it point to visit the school for more of such encounters.

The 2-hour exercise saw both the pupils from the lower and upper level of the school numbering over seven-hundred (700) taken through the tricks and common lures kidnappers use to seize their targets They were also given tips to serve as guides in order not to fall victims. On his part, the Executive Director of Human Rights Reporters Ghana, Joseph Kobla Wemakor admonished students to exercise restraint, be vigilant always and avoid entertaining strangers to stay safe.  He called for collaboration and support of the government, CSOs, NGOs, well-meaning individuals and other stakeholders to come on board and assist HRRG to reach every school in the country with the sensitization on kidnapping, teenage pregnancy and tramadol abuse and its related issues.

The phenomenon of kidnapping in Ghana is on the rise in recent times since rearing its ugly in 2018 making the country a scary place to live in. Both the young and the old are in a panic as everyone is at risk of getting kidnapped. The incident has added to a spate of other kidnappings which the police and security analysts say is a new trend.

Abductions and violent crime toward foreigners are rare in Ghana, but appear to be on the rise in recent times. In April, an Indian man was abducted in Kumasi by an armed gang demanding a cash ransom. He was rescued by police. Between August 2018 and January 2019, three young Ghanaian women were kidnapped in the port city of Takoradi, about six hours from Accra.

The police are working to win their release and the case has made headlines across the nation.  In the same month, a consular-general from Estonia was reportedly kidnapped in the capital, Accra, but was also rescued by police.

Arguably, the latest disturbing news of the two kidnapped Canadian citizens on last Tuesday, June 4, makes the country even scarier to live in, not only for Ghanaians themselves but foreigners too.

Source: Joseph Kobla Wemakor

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