STOPPING THE ARMED ATTACKS ON STUDENTS

THE spate of armed robbery attacks on students of tertiary educational institutions in the country is cause for concern for parents, the authorities of the institutions, and indeed, the general public.

These brutal attacks on the campuses and hostels of both public and private universities, have in some instances, resulted in either deaths or left behind, victims with knife and gunshot wounds.

The Ghanaian Times has consistently reported about those incidents since September, when, robbers were said to have invaded a number of rooms in the Dr. Hilla Limann Hall of the University of Ghana (UG) and made away with personal belongings, attacked a shuttle bus conveying students to lectures, and snatched their bags.

Again, on November 28, a Nigerian student stage-managed a robbery on his colleagues, which resulted in one dead, and two injured in their hostel at Accra New Town.

As if that was not enough, armed robbers again attacked and robbed a female student of U of G, on the Evade Hostel road stretch, after inflicting knife wounds on her.

Similar cases have been reported by students of other tertiary institutions, such as the Ghana Institute of Languages, Accra, Cape Coast University, the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and Lancaster University, among others.

The rate of armed attacks on students, is alarming, but it is re-assuring that the Ghana Police Service has indicated their readiness to increase their patrols around the schools, and to beef up security on the campuses throughout the country, to ensure law and order, to enable the students to pursue their academic work without fear.

Our information is that the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr Mohammed Alhassan, has directed all Regional Police Commanders to ensure that the police intensify their patrols on the campuses and student hostels, across the country.

The IGP, we are told, gave the directive after a meeting at the Police Headquarters in Accra last Thursday with Mr. Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, the Deputy Minister in-charge of Tertiary Education, at which he put forward a strategy to prevent further attacks on students.

Though the Police administration and the government have demonstrated their commitment to enhance security on the campuses and hostels, they may not achieve much, if all hands are not put on deck, to deal with the problem holistically.

It behoves other stakeholders, particularly students and the general public, to also, support any initiative of officialdom, to improve security in our tertiary institutions.

Additionally, there is the urgent need for the university authorities to enhance their security strategies, install modern equipments such as closed-circuit television cameras at vantage points, organise regular training for their security personnel, and provide them with the vehicles, logistics and weapons to enable them to neutralise the nefarious activities of these criminals.

A greater responsibility lies with the students, as they have to adopt proactive measures to guarantee their own safety, bearing in mind that ‘self-protection is the best security measure for every individual’.

They have to be security-conscious, by reporting suspicious characters they encounter on the campuses or hostels to the security personnel, and also to refrain from receiving visitors during odd hours and walking alone, especially at obscure and unlit places.

The most important asset of every nation is its human resource, so efforts should be made by all and sundry to guarantee the safety of our youth and students, especially on our campuses and in the hostels.

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