The Upper West Regional youth parliament has called for a ban on the engagement of elderly men above 60 years as private security guards (watchmen) in the Wa municipality.
The parliament has rather suggested that such persons be identified and added to beneficiaries of the Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty (LEAP) programme in order to prevent them from risking their lives for jobs that paid as low as GH¢100.00.
The call and subsequent suggestions were part of recommendations made by the group after it conducted a research around the alleged targeting of private security guards in recent murder and kidnapping cases that were recorded in the municipality.
The study which was on the topic “Assessing private security accountability in the Wa municipality of the Upper West Region” aimed at unveiling the state of private security operations in the municipality with the objective of examining their mode of recruitment, the form of training they received as well as logistics and remuneration they received.
The study involved 50 respondents who included wholesale and retail shop owners, staff of private security companies, security guards (night watchmen) and owners of schools.
At a news conference to share the findings and recommendations of the research with the media at Wa on Thursday, the speaker of the regional youth parliament, Mr James Baba Anabiga. mentioned that the study was the contribution of the youth to addressing recent issues of murder and kidnappings involving night watchmen.
He said the study identified that most of the elderly men who were engaged as watchmen lived outside the central business district and had to cover several kilometres to their workplaces, yet received very little remuneration.
“The study uncovered that the old men were not given any form of training on the job, so in the face of crime or attack at their workplaces, it was established that they were rendered helpless,so there was the need to stop such people from putting their own lives at risk,” he said.
The study, he said, revealed that 82 per cent of persons engaged as night watchmen were above 50 years and had not received any formal education and were married with children.
The speaker said the study suggested that instead of engaging such old men who were putting their own lives at risk, owners of institutions that engaged the services of such persons as well as the private security guards should make the remuneration attractive in order to get younger people to sign up for the job as they were more fit for it.
He also appealed to the department of social welfare to take up the matter seriously and identify such persons in order to roll them onto the LEAP scheme to stop them from risking their lives over such meagre salaries.
FROM LYDIA DARLINGTON FORDJOUR, WA