Upper West Regional Youth Parliament

The Upper West Regional Youth Parliament (YP) has called for a ban on the engagement of the services of aged men as night security guards, “watchmen”, by business and other firms in the Wa Municipality.

It also called for the regularization of private security operations in the municipality.

These were contained in the recommendations of a research conducted by the YP on “Assessing Private Security Accountability in the Wa Municipality of the Upper West Region”, following recent serial killings in the municipality.

At a press briefing dubbed “Wa Killings: Lapses and Way Forward” on September 29, 2022 in Wa to disseminate the findings of the study, the Speaker of the Upper West Regional YP, Mr James Baba Anabiga read: “There is the need to regularize private security operations in the Wa Municipality as we call for a ban on the practices of businesses or facilities engaging the aged as watchmen.”

The YP also advised the Department of Community Development and Social Welfare to identify such aged private security personnel and enroll them into the government’s social protection scheme, Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) for them to be laid off.

It further recommended that the Government of Ghana (GoG) and the Municipal Security Council (MUSEC), as a matter of urgency, disband the informal engagement of older men as security personnel whiles calling on businesses and facilities to consider engaging the Ghana Police Service for efficient security protection.

It urged the MUSEC to admonish businesses including private schools and residential apartments to improve upon their lighting systems and also called on the businesses to install CCTV cameras in their premises to increase surveillance and crime combating efforts.

The Youth Parliament also called on the Wa Municipal Assembly (WMA) to demonstrate quality leadership by ensuring that all parts of the Municipality have sufficient and functional streetlights saying “We pay for it and it is fair we have it installed and functioning as well”.

The recommendations came at the backdrop of the findings that have been revealed by the study.

The study revealed that 82 percent of persons engaged in private security services were 50 years and above; 80 percent of private security personnel did not receive formal education; 94 percent of private security personnel were males; and 78 percent of security personnel were married with children and families.

It further uncovered that 86 percent of private security personnel lived in the periphery of Wa Township and cover a distance of at least 10 kilometres to the worksite while same percent of private security personnel were not engaged with any private security company.

The study identified poor street lighting systems and poor lighting around the vicinities of most of the businesses and facilities as a major security challenge.

It also revealed that majority of security personnel working under private security operatives did not receive training before recruitment as majority were also recommended by friends and family relations.

“Other findings of the study revealed that the majority of private security personnel (72%) are paid between GH₵100 and GH₵399,” the study observed.

The YP undertook the study to among other things, examine training, logistics and remuneration of private security personnel and also examine the functionality of streetlights for night visibility and crime prevention, following the recent serial killings experienced in the Wa Municipality.

Over the last nine months, the Wa Municipality has experienced about 11 mysterious killings, kidnaps and attacks of unsuspecting citizens, mostly night security “watchmen”, allegedly, for ritual purposes.

Source: Amin Ibrahim/Info Radio

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