The Minister of the Interior, Mr Mark Woyongo, has called on the security agencies to be more active and vigilant as the nation prepares for the 2016 elections.
He said the ministry was seeking financial clearance from the Ministry of Finance for its agencies to recruit more people, so that they could adequately prepare to maintain law and order in the run-up to the elections.
Addressing a meeting with heads of agencies under the ministry in Accra yesterday, Mr Woyongo said it was critical that all heads of agencies ensured that their officers and men were disciplined, law abiding and respected the rights of all citizens to avoid the negative perceptions that they were compromised.
“I must stress from the onset that the ministry is responsible for the promotion of peaceful, free, transparent and credible elections which will be acceptable to all major players. We are committed to these and will, therefore, not shirk our responsibility towards achieving these tenets that we have set ourselves,” he said.
Touching on specific agencies, Mr Woyongo called on the Ghana Police Service to expect many more public demonstrations, strikes, processions, as well as unauthorised assemblies, because of the upcoming elections.
He pointed out that it was the expectation of the government and the public that the police would maintain peace and security and called on the service to rely more on intelligence and information from the public and ensure that they adequately rewarded informants, as well as personnel who excelled in the service.
On the recent fire disasters that the country had been experiencing, Mr Woyongo called on the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) to intensify its outreach programmes to sensitise and educate the public, particularly in schools, at the markets and lorry parks, on how to stay safe during the harmattan season.
He called on the service to also undertake risk assessment of fire-prone areas and deploy fire engines to more risky areas to reduce its response time to fires.
Mr Woyongo said the ministry was pursuing the passage of a new Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) Law which would mandate officers and men of the Boarder Patrol Unit of the GIS to carry firearms and called on them to enhance their monitoring activities.
He also called on the officers and men of the service to be professional to avoid accusations of extortion and harassment.
The minister asked personnel of the Ghana Prisons Service to be more vigilant and continue to collaborate with the ministry towards the decongestion of the prisons.
He also asked the service to increase its agricultural activities to help supplement government’s effort at feeding prison inmates.
The minister commended the National Peace Council (NPC) for its work over the years in ensuring that there were peaceful elections and called on the council to intensify its consultations with various stakeholders regarding their roles in ensuring peaceful, credible and transparent elections in 2016.
He called on the council to continue collaborating with the security agencies to ensure that tension situations were expeditiously resolved and possible clashes nipped in the bud.
For the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB), Mr Woyongo asked it to concentrate on arresting drug barons and also intensify its effort at arresting those who cultivated Indian hemp.
For the Gaming Commission, the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) and the Ghana Refugee Board, he, among others, called for more proactiveness from them