About 80 percent of the population of nearly to 100,000 in the Nzema East Municipal Assembly in the Western Region are without police security.
Residents, particularly, in the northern part of the Municipality sometimes have to travel for more than 80 kilometers before they can assess police service.
“I travelled from the Nzema East Municipal capital Axim, through a thick forest, to Gwira Banso,” Connect FM’s reporter Eric Yaw Adjei narrates.
“In doing so, I had to pass through the Ellembelle District where I passed Essiama, Nkroful, Teleku Bokazu, Asasetre and Akropong. It took our pick-up vehicle driver close to one hour driving on a very dusty and pothole riddled road before finally getting to our destination Gwira Banso in the Nzema East Municipal Assembly.”
He continued: “Interestingly, the only police post we came across was the one at Nkroful in the Ellembelle District. Apart from the Divisional and Municipal police stations all at Axim, the other police station is far away in Dominase. I will learn later that, residents around Sikanasem and other areas in the northern part of the municipality will sometimes have to travel more than 6 hours before they can get police service. Due to this frustration, they sometimes give up.”
Large scale cocoa farming and small-scale mining dominate economic activities in the Nzema East Municipality.
Cases of assault, petty thievery and robbery are common particularly in riverine communities and hard-to-reach areas away from Axim.
Sadly, most of the victims abandon their cases due to frustrations associated with accessing police service.
“Sometimes when you brace the odds of travelling many kilometers on pothole-riddled and dusty roads to get to the police station, you are told to hire a car to convey the police men to and from your community. This is too much to bear and so you have to let go of your case,” a frustrated resident complained.
Sixty-five-year-old Florence Eblahun resides close to the Ankobra River. She sells diesel to Okada drivers due to the non-availability of a fuel dump in and around Gwira Banso.
“Plying this trade is increasingly becoming frustrating. Not a single week will pass without someone breaking into my shop to steal gallons of diesel. You will either send a complaint to the Chief’s palace or if you can go to the police station. But all options are a drudgery. The non-availability of a police station around is not the best. I am now considering stopping this business because it is becoming risky each day,” she lamented
Divisional Police Commander for Axim ACP Francis Kwame Tsidi is equally worried about the disparity in police service in the municipality.
“Four days ago, a young man came to Axim from Sikanasem with a complaint of threat of death. Apparently, he had travelled for six hours and I was sad for his situation. Now, I have started long range patrols to these areas and it is helping. My challenge is sustainability because these men will have to travel long distances.”
After years of pleas, lobbying and tales of robbery, the Nzema East Municipal Assembly has secured funds for the construction of a police station at Gwira Banso.
“We found is necessary to put up a police station here. As you heard the divisional police commander there are only two police stations serving the whole of this municipality and that is worrisome. This new police station we are putting up will have three cells for males, females and juveniles. It will also have a charge office and two offices for the personnel. The project is expected to be completed in three months and I have told the contractor that I will not entertain any excuse of delay because the funds for the project have been made available. We are also lucky that a company around is putting up a three-unit accommodation for the personnel,” Nzema East Municipal Chief Executive Dorcas Elizabeth Amoah mentioned.
Residents who have been eagerly waiting for a police station explained that they are excited and hopeful that the security situation will change once it becomes operational.
At a sod cutting ceremony, Chief of Gwira Banso Nana Ette Akrade II was optimistic the security situation in the community will improve significantly when the police station becomes operational.
“I recall how difficult it has been to convince companies especially financial institutions to come to Banso. They will tell me that without a police station it will be difficult for them to come and set up. Currently, we have a bank here and I helped them get two ex-servicemen to help with security. So, imagine what will happen when the police station becomes operational. More companies will come and what this means is that my subjects will also get work to do and the community will open up more.”
By Eric Yaw Adjei|Connect FM|3news.com|Ghana