Security situation in Zebilla terrible – Cletus Avoka

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Hon. Cletus Avoka
Hon. Cletus Avoka

Mr Cletus Avoka, Member of Parliament (MP) for Zebilla Constituency, is calling on the Government to beef up security in the area, as he describes the situation as terrible.

The situation, the MP said, was worse in the night, putting the lives of travelers even more at risk.

There had been a surge of robbery attacks in the area even broad daylight and in places near to police stations.

With heightened levels of armed robbery in the constituency, the MP said residents were living in fear.

“Just weeks ago, there was an armed robbery in the Zebilla town. The store is just about 100 metres from the police station, but by the time the police got to the crime scene, the robbers had already left. This happened broad daylight about 1400 hours and 1500 hours in the opened market area,” Mr Avoka, a former Minister for the Interior, said.

In an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) at the Parliament House, in Accra, the MP, a former Minister of Interior, said he had raised the concerns on the situation with the Inspector General of Police (IGP), the Upper East Regional Police Commander and the Zebilla District Police Commander.

He attributed the rising crime situation in the area to bad feeder roads and other roads linking Zebilla Township and other communities, with a worry despite the presence of police posts, it did not appear there was security on the grounds.

“Almost all our feeder roads or roads going to the various villages are dangerous. And township too is dangerous,” Mr Avoka said.

He added: “Going from Zebilla to Sapielga in the night is a danger. Traveling between Zebilla and Widnaba is dangerous, travelling between Zebilla and Binaba and many other roads are challenging.

“And it doesn’t appear we have security on the grounds even though we have police posts around,’ he said.

The IGP, he said, had given assurance to support the police in the constituency with vehicles to improve patrols and visibility, but the District police was yet to receive a favourable response.

The MP said having information from the Police Command in the district that they had no vehicles to respond to distress calls.“That is one of the reasons robbers operate in the area with bravado.

“I spoke to the District police commander, and he told me they don’t have a vehicle, so sometimes they get the calls that robbery is going on somewhere, but they are not able to respond on time. I also think some of the police have compromised themselves because they become familiar with the area and the people,” he added.

The MP attributed the increasing robberies the area because of its proximity to border with Burkina-Faso, scarce logistics for the police, youth unemployment and absence of Neighbourhood Watchdog Committees (NWCs).

He said the NWCs in the area were operational before 2016.

Mr Avoka said the development was affecting his constituents and those of the entire people of Upper East since they regularly trade in the Zebilla market, one of the biggest markets in the Bawku enclave.

He appealed to the Minister of Interior to take a personal interest in the development and find a lasting solution to it.

On recent armed robbery of a bullion van in Jamestown in Accra, the MP said the incident, was “one too many in the country,” and urged the police to up their game.

While urging the police to double their operation on both day and night, Mr Avoka called on Ghanaians to volunteer information to the security agencies to help combat crime in the country.

“I think that police alone cannot protect us. We must help the police to protect us. When we see suspicious movements of strangers in the area, we must alert the police,” the MP said.

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