Despite the court sentencing two accused persons to death over the disappearance of four girls in the Western Region, the Regional Minister, Mr Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, has said that all kidnapping issues in the region were fake.
According to the Minister, the news of kidnappings in the region were attempts made by people to tarnish the good name of the oil city.
“Kidnapping issues; I want to tell you something, there was no kidnapping happening in the Western Region, it was in the minds of people. They wanted to disgrace our city. All of them were fake,” he told media men at a news conference organised by the Ministry of Information in Accra yesterday.
The program, dubbed “The State of the Region Report”, a weekly press briefing put together by the Ministry of Information for Regional Ministers to provide update on developments in the regions.
The question that elucidated the response boarded on security in the region. It would be recalled that Ruth Abakah, Priscilla Blessing Bentum, Ruth Love Quayson and Priscilla Mantseabea Koranchie went missing in 2018.
Ruth, a 19 year old girl, was last seen by her family at Diabena Methodist Church on July 29, while Priscilla, a 21 year old lady, was captured on August 17 at Kansawurodo.
Ruth Quayson, an 18 year old lady was captured on December 4, 2022 at Butumagyebu junction, while Priscilla Mantseabea, who was also 15 years, was captured at Nkroful Junction on December 21, 2022.
Three of these ladies lived at Diabene while one lived at West Fijai, both suburbs of Sekondi -Takoradi.
Consequently, the Sekondi High Court, presided over by Justice Richard Agyei Frimpong, sentenced to death two Nigerians, Sam Udeotuk Wills and John Orji for their involvement in the kidnapping and murder of the four girls.
On the other hand, 29 year of old Joana Krah, was found guilty of staging her own kidnap and was sentenced to six (6) years in prison.
Joana was declared kidnapped in the capital city of the western region, Takoradi, after her family reported to the Police that she went out for a morning walk, and was allegedly pregnant.
She was later found without any sign of pregnancy and investigations revealed that she faked the pregnancy and also faked her own kidnapping in order to extort an amount of GH¢5,000 from her step-father.
Joana was arrested and jailed subsequently. These two issues and a few others were all incidences that took place in the region.
But the Minister said all these were fake and went ahead to invite people to visit the region this December for the Christmas celebration.
Another issue the Minister responded to was on illegal mining, popularly known as galamsey. He admitted that there are challenges with the fight against galamsey, but plans have been in place to salvage the situation.
Minister Okyere Darko said one of the new measures is by arrest. He indicated that instead of swooping on the illegal miners and burning their excavators, which they can easily buy and go back to work, his team is now arresting those caught in the act, so that they won’t be able to return to continue their nefarious activities.
The other measure the Minister spoke about was the making of Municipal Chief Executives (MCEs) in the region to be signatories to the mining licenses that are granted to mine operators. He said this would enable the MCEs to know who is doing legal mining and who is not, so that they can go after the bad guys.
Another measure he spoke about was the stationing of river guards along various river bodies in the region to guard and protect the river bodies.
Minister Okyere Darko said he is of the belief that mining can be done and done well when the right measures are put in place hence the measures he has outlined above.
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