Security in Ashanti Region much improved in last five years — Regional Minister
Mr Simon Osei-Mensah, the Ashanti Regional Minister, says there has been a significant improvement in security in the region since the New Patriotic Party (NPP)-led government assumed office in 2017.
Speaking at the Minister’s Press Briefing organised by the Ministry of Information in Accra on Wednesday, Mr Osei-Mensah allayed fears of residents of security concerns in the region.
He said since assuming office five years ago, there had been significant drop in high profile crimes, including highway robberies, kidnapping and murder in the region.
His comments follow a recent survey conducted by a security group, Foundation for Security Development in Africa (FOSDA), which named the Ashanti Region as the most violent, having recorded the highest violent activities between June and July 2022.
Also, a recent hall clash between Katanga and Continental of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) further raised questions about the security situation in the region.
Mr Osei-Mensah said even though he recognised those concerns were legitimate, the government had done and continued to do a lot to improve security in the region.
“When it comes to security in the Ashanti Region, no country in this world can eradicate security risk in its entirety but we’ve done very well,” he said.
The Minister said, for instance, government had been able to find a lasting solution to the perennial clashes between residents of Asante-Akyem-Agogo and cattle herdsmen, which most of the time resulted in deaths.
He added that major criminal activities such as highway robberies, kidnapping of foreign nationals and murder have also reduced drastically over the past five years.
“If you take Asante Akyem Agogo, cattle herdsmen menace had been there for decades and even the late former President Jerry John Rawlings established ‘operation calm life’ in 1992 in this country to curb that menace.
“When I took over in 2017, I went to Agogo and had a meeting with the chiefs and the people in a church and told them that we will nip that menace in the bud. Now, everybody can attest to the fact that, that menace has been brought to the barest minimum, everywhere,” he said.
He added that: “Since 2018, we haven’t heard cattle herdsmen have killed or raped anybody. It has stopped. And now, because of the good work we’ve done we have Asante-Akyem-Agogo plantain festival.”
Mr Osei-Mensah, who is also the head of the Ashanti Regional Security Council (REGSEC), said the Council, as part of efforts to enhance security, carried out intelligence-led exercises to ensure that crimes were abated before they were committed.
On the clash between the two KNUST halls, Mr Osei-Mensah explained that the REGSEC picked up intelligence about the incident late, hence their failure to foil the clash on time.
He added that, calm had, however, been restored to the campus of the University, while the arrested students were being prosecuted as criminals.
The Minister, while commending members of the REGSEC for their hard work towards ensuring improved security in the region, assured residents that government would do everything possible to guarantee their safety.