Monday, January 10, 2011
STRENGTHING NARCOTIC CONTROL BOARD IN THE WAKE OF WIKILEAKS EXPOSE, THE ROLE OF GOVERNMENT.
The shocking revelations by wikileaks in recent times have caused a massive shake up in certain corridors of power around the world. The releases of highly classified intelligence information of various governments to the US government intercepted by the whistle blowing website wikileaks has indicted many countries and its governments across the world, and Ghana is no exception to it. A popular UK newspaper “The Guardian’ published on its website copious notes of the wikileaks intelligence releases on how the American government views Ghana when it comes to dealing with narcotic drugs issues by it government. It also blamed successive governments of the country for its lackadaisical attitude in nipping the menace in a bud. According to wikileaks report “The US Embassy on December 21, 2007 note that Government Of Ghana contacts in both Police service and the presidential office have said they know the identities of the major barons, but they have not said why they have not chosen to arrest them. ‘A police service contact told us the government of Ghana does not have the political will to go after the barons. This officials and other close to the president have also told us they cannot trust anyone when it comes to Narcotic” wikileaks quoted the US Embassy cable from its confidential section 03 Accra 002590”.
It even drags the Narcotic Control Board into the issue by accusing the appointment of a former NACOB Boss by the NPP government as a clear sign of the then government’s unwillingness to fight the drug trade.
It’s also interesting to note that all these intelligence information leaked by the wikileaks concerning the Government of Ghana’s inability to fight Narcotic war in the country has not been challenged by the former Government and also the current administration, even though the latter has shown its sincere commitment to the fight against the drug menace. In fact there are ample evidences or even real scenarios one can point to the latter’s proactive role in curbing the menace.
Firstly, we all witnessed the first gentleman of the land, H.E Prof J.A.Mills going through security checks at the Kotoka International Airport defying prestigious and glorifying protocol courtesies entitled him, then he instructed every member of his government to emulate his example. In fulfillment of its sincere promise against Narcotic Drugs, secondly the cuurent adminisntration appointed a dynamic and result oriented person to head and manage the affairs of the Narcotic Control Board (NACOB) to ensure that Ghana does not become a hiding haven for notorious drug barons and a preferred destination or transit for narcotic drugs. Mr. Yaw Akrasi Sarpong is currently the Executive Secretary of Government anti –narcotic drugs institution which according to sources is yet to be turned into a commission. The zeal, diligence and commitment to the course of a drug free Ghana under Yaw Akrasi Sarpong has led to the various arrest and detention of many drug barons including the recent arrest of Pierre Wadini by Interpol through the collaborative efforts of NACOB in the USA this year.
As part of efforts it efforts to educate the Ghanaian public on the dangers of narcotics drugs, NACOB under Yaw Akrasi Sarpong together with his dedicated and selfless team of professionals embarked on a public sensitization mission with the aim of educating every Ghanaian on the cunning influences of narcotic drugs and this is done through engaging schools, Civil Society Organizations and various workers union in discussions.
Journalists across the length and breadth of this country has also benefitted from NACOB’s education which has even resulted in the formation of a network of media practioners in the fight against drugs, although the idea of bringing journalists together to assist NACOB in the fight against drugs was muted by the then minister of interior Hon. Hackman Owusu Agyeman in2007, it was given a major boost under the current administration. Journalist against Drugs (JAD) has had close collaborations with NACOB and has benefitted tremendously in terms of educational workshops and getting access to accurate information from NACOB pertaining to their activities.
The truth of the matter is, whether we as Ghanaians likes it or not the information leaked by wikileaks websites about Ghana’s role in narcotic drugs cannot be refuted ant where on this planet by both the NPP and NDC government. We should remember that “Truth clash to the earth shall rise some day” and that s exactly what had happened. It is public knowledge as to which administration did what and which administration did that, so we should stop the blame game and find strategies as to how to curtail future happenings. Here is a note of caution to the Mills led administration that all efforts should be made so that the ‘VVIP’ Very very important people lounge at the KOTOKA International Airport would not be used again as the main conduit for the so called senior, filthy rich drug barons. His Excellency Prof. J.A.Mills and Mr. Yaw Akrasi Sarpong should crack the whip when necessary so that the ordinary Ghanaian would have some peace of mind, self dignity and fell proud to walk anywhere on this earth without fear of been branded or suspected of been a drug dealer because you are coming from Ghana.
One frustrating and disturbing informations we gathered from wikileaks was how poorly personnel of NACOB were paid or renumerated, and that was a source of worry for the current NACOB boss, who then complained about the lukewarm attitude of the previous Kufour administration who failed to provide NACOB with adequate resources thereby putting personnel of NACOB in a compromising situation in their line of duty. Mr. Yaw Akrasi Sarpong‘s seemingly frustration over low remuneration of NACOB personnel is not a misplace one although he was not the then head of NACOB, such situation has had a negative toll on the service thus painting NACOB black in the eyes of the public.
It is the hope of many Ghanaians including this writer that since NACOB falls under the per view of the ministry of interior, efforts should be made so that personnel of NACOB be roll onto government Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS) so they wouldn’t be vulnerable to drug traffickers. Let’s all rally behind NACOB to make Ghana a drug free state by reporting the activities of narcotic dealers in our neighborhoods to them and the promise is “you will never regret you did that just for mother Ghana”.
By: Benjamin Nana Appiah Acquaye
(The writer is a member of Journalist against Drugs- Ghana)