The Minister for Interior, Mike Woyongo, has called on security officers not to overwork themselves at night after a stressful day at work. He said there was no point having plenty children if one was unable to take good care of them.
“Security officers like having plenty children, why? After doing overtime at work, you go home and do another over time?” The minister’s comment attracted laughter from both guests and prisons officers who he was addressing.
Mr. Woyongo made the remarks when one of the officers drew his attention to the accommodation problems being faced by personnel of the service. The officer said it was appalling to see personnel with about seven children sharing a single room, and appealed to the minister to do something about their plight.
In response the minister shared his frustration about the conditions of the prison service but also advised officers to keep small families. He noted that government was doing a lot to mitigate the problems being faced by the service and its personnel.
Mr. Woyongo said he was aware that the conditions in the prisons “were not the best” but appealed to officers to treat prisoners humanely. He said the Attorney-General has been tasked to draft a proposal for a discussion. He noted that it would be tabled before parliament if it is accepted by the Chief Justice.
The Interior Minister said the bill would be looking at non-custodian sentences like community service for persons who are not able to pay fines or for those that commit misdemeanors. He was surprised the Koforidua prisons had an inmate who was jailed 12 years for stealing a fowl. He said that was unacceptable and sentences like that adds to the congestion in the prisons.
The Koforidua Prisons was originally built to accommodate 400 convicts, but it is temporary home to almost 800 prisoners today, causing serious congestion at the facility. The minister promised that his ministry would soon take delivery of some buses including two donated by the British High Commission for the Prisons Service.
He said plans were far advance to also build confortable residential accommodation space for officers of the security agencies.
The minister observed that the guns being used by prison officers were outmoded. He promised to resource them with modern weapons in order to make them responsive and efficient.
Immigration officers to use guns
The Interior minister said it was quiet dangerous for immigration officers to pursue criminals at the various entry points without guns. This he noted made them less effective as their lives are endangered. He said he would therefore ensure that immigration officers were allowed to carry firearms. He warned that the guns are not to be used to threaten people’s life but to be used effectively as a protective measure for controlling crime and self-defense in face of danger.
Recruitment into Security Agencies
The Ministry of Interior, according to the minister, would soon begin recruitment of personnel into the security services. The holdup has been due to financial challenges occasioned by the huge wage bill.
He said it was therefore waiting for an approval from the Finance Minister to begin recruitment.
He warned the public to be weary of fake recruitment as any official recruitment exercise would be announced publicly, and not done in secret.
“The ministry needs to boost the strength of all the security services, especially the prisons service which is overly understaffed, to ease the burden of officers,” Mr. Woyongo said.
He said personnel who stayed at one place for more than five years tend to lose their significance and promised that such persons will be respected.
Further, he said persons from different professional background heading the immigration service may be a demotivating factor for staff. He would therefore ensure that after the current director of immigration Dr. Peter Wiredu, professional immigration officers take up the mantel.
He was however not happy that opposing blocks have been formed within the services with each group antagonizing the other. He called for unity and oneness amongst officers of the security services in order to move the country forward.
He urged that the security services share information to promote effective communication. He observed that if there is effective communication amongst them, there would be no need for police personnel to carry AK47 everywhere they go. He therefore urged that immigration officers are trained and retrained when the guns are delivered to them and be disciplined in their handling of the weapons he explained that currently the ministry is considering a proposal brought before it by the immigration director, that the service be allowed to retain 40 percent of its Internally Generated Funds. He promised to give a positive response but urged that personnel of the service to a lot more to generate more IGF so that the 40 percent would be significant enough to support the service.
Source: Weekend Sun
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