Armed robbers are targeting the fertile Sefwi cocoa growing area in the Western Region because of the rise in the producer price of the cash crop.
As a result, the chiefs and elders of those areas have sent a distress call to the government to protect them from the felons.
Nana Kwabena Badu II, Chief of Sefwi Adjoafoa, made the appeal through a spokesman during the tour of the Western Regional Minister, Mr Paul Evans Aidoo to the Bia District.
The Minister is on a three-day working visit to inspect ongoing projects on education, health and others and also interact with the chiefs and elders in the communities to assess the present challenges facing them with the view to find solution to them.
Nana Badu said a few weeks after the announcement in the price of cocoa of GH¢200 per a bag the first ever armed robbery incident occurred in a neighbouring village but they were not able to arrest them, therefore “we do not know if they are still hiding in the bush as at now.”
The chief said the people are reeling in fear and distress and have since been on the alert, regretting that the large area has only three police personnel who can easily be outwitted by the robbers.
The chiefs of seven villages in the Bia District toured by the Minister expressed common concerns and also counted the lack of inadequate facilities in the area such as education, health, security, transportation and the deplorable road network as factors hampering their socio-economic progress.
The chiefs regretted that the roads are bad to the extent that cocoa and foodstuffs cannot be carted to the urban centres thus impacting negatively on their economic activities.
In all the villages visited, the chiefs and the people called for the creation of another district in the Bia area since the present state was too large for a district.
The chiefs and elders in the area appealed to the government to construct all-weather roads in the cocoa growing areas not only to facilitate the carting of cocoa and foodstuff to the urban centres but transport emergency health cases to the hospitals.
They appealed for the construction of more classroom blocks since according to them, the free education programme has encouraged more enrolment in the schools.
The Minister said government was aware of their plight and was making efforts to solve them and therefore urged them to exercise restraint.
On the road network, he said government has secured funds to construct a 43- kilometre road in the area but it has to go through processes before construction begins, saying that it would be constructed in phases to ensure quality work.
Some of the places visited by the Minister were Elluokrom, Asountaa, Kwamebikrom, Essam, Debiso, Oseikojokrom, Yawnatwa and Adjoafoa.
The Minister was accompanied by Mr Michael Boanpong, Member of for Bia, Mr Solomon Fuakya, District Chief Executive for Juaboso who has additional responsibility over Bia and Mr David Yaro, Chief Director of the Western Regional Coordinating Council.