President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has called on the public to be patriotic in advancing the course of development for the country.
He said, “You cannot be a patriotic citizen and yet indulge in acts of indiscipline…your productive contribution is very key to the socioeconomic development of the country, patriotism is the backbone of development”.
The President said this at the 2019/2020 Annual General Conference of the Ghana Bar Association held in Takoradi.
The event was held under the theme: “Enhancing National Security Through The Rule of Law: Prospects and Challenges”.
President Akufo-Addo said achieving an organised and progressive society hinges on proper law enforcement adding that peace and security can only be attained not by words alone but by deeds.
Expressing concern on corrupt practices in the banking, construction and other sectors of the economy, the President said the various challenges at the banks, construction and roads sector are all perpetuated by individuals who do not respect the laws of our land, we are taking concrete steps to deal with all individuals found culpable of these ill actions against society.
President Akufo-Addo said logistics and personnel challenges were being carefully attended to aid law enforcement.
“I have affirmed the Vigilantism Act and the Mining and Minerals Act to deal with offenders”, he said.
The President said fraud, smuggling, illegal mining and other acts of bribery and corruption must all be curtailed through a strong will to enforce law and order in the society to continue to make Ghana a beacon of peace and democracy in the sub region.
The President urged critics of government to stop complaining that his administration was not doing anything to curb corruption in the country, “It is not my job to clear or convict people and that is why the relevant agencies and institutions have been mandated to work efficiently”.
“Mind you, we cannot also condemn on the basis of mere allegations, it will not work and that is why the CID, CHRAJ and Parliament work on these allegations and give recommendations”.
He said stringent procurement measures have for instance saved the country some GH¢2.5 billion adding that “fighting corruption will not be won overnight but political will, will get us there”.
President Akufo-Addo also urged media practitioners to be responsible in the execution of their duties and stop the abuse of the media freedom at their disposal.
He said politicians were not the only people who made mistakes and that journalists, presenters and news anchors also make mistakes and that they should be willing to correct their mistakes for the furtherance of societal cohesion.
Ms Gloria Akufo, the Attorney General and Minister for Justice, said there is the need to scale up issues concerning national security for the good of all and “we need to make Ghana great and strong through the enforcement of rule of law”.
She said the rule of law was dependent on an efficient and effective justice system, adding that it is imperative that the judiciary pause from time to time to reflect interrogate and gauge the success of its operations and needed interventions to contribute to national development.
The Attorney General said securing the rule of law is in our national security interests in the wake of organised crimes, natural and man-made disasters.
Mr Anthony Forson Junior, the President of the Ghana Bar Association, called for the review of the budgetary allocation for judges to ensure independent and fairness in the justice delivery system.
He also called for increased facilities for law education to increase the number of professionals in the sector adding that the digitization of many of their activities was on course.
Mr Forson also called on the President to be firm in dealing with members of his government who fall foul of the law, “We know you are as strong as the Akufo-Addo who achieved lots for the rule of law in your hay days”.
Justice Julius Ansah, Acting Chief Justice, said the 1992 constitution demonstrated the supremacy of the rule of law and called on all to work in the interest of the security.
Mr Kwabena Okyere-Darko, the Western Regional Minister, said youth unemployment and bad roads among others have led to various concerns adding that providing employment with assured incomes as well as good security was crucial in enhancing national security.
He said lawyers are strategic partners in promoting businesses in the region.
“I believe in our collaboration as promoters of local economic development on one hand and members of the GBA as facilitators on the other hand, drafting business agreements and settling disputes through Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanisms should make businesses thrive without undue recourse to legal procedures”, he said.