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23 February 2017

I will change regrettable state of army and police – Akufo-Addo

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President Nana Akufo-Addo has promised to change what he describes as the regrettable state of affairs of the nation’s security forces.

He promised his determination to give whatever support is required from government to ensure that the nation get the service that the people deserve.

Delivering his maiden State of the Nation Address (SONA) to Parliament Tuesday he said, “it is a regrettable state of affairs that will not continue under my administration.”

“One of the first issues that came to my attention, as soon as I assumed office, was the request from ECOWAS to send a military contingent from Ghana, as part of the ECOWAS Mission in The Gambia (ECOMIG) to resolve the post-electoral impasse in that country. Senegal was to provide 3,150; Nigeria 509; and Ghana 210 troops.

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The President said he assented to the request of sending 208 military officers as it involved large issues of regional stability and the preservation of democracy and rule of law in a member state.

He spoke of his excitement that the mission succeeded in creating the necessary environment for the rule of law to be maintained, and for the rightful transfer of authority to the newly elected President.

Presently, about 3,000 Ghanaian soldiers are involved in peacekeeping operations around the globe and the President spoke about the need “to do more to keep their morale high and empower them.”

He said government would continue its recruitment into the police service with the aim of meeting the U.N. ratio of one police officer to 500 civilians as well as ensuring gender equity.

Government took a decision to pay them their allowances at post and not on their return President Akufo-Addo spoke of the new approach to addressing the issue.

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“It gives me great pleasure to be able to inform the House that the outstanding arrears of $13 million for all peacekeeping personnel have been cleared by my government, and the contingents in the Gambia have been paid all their allowances in full,” the President said.

He cited serious difficulties facing the armed forces that are not unlike those facing other parts of the nation’s public sector.

“Overcrowded and inappropriate accommodation for personnel, inability to pay food and utility bills, and threats from providers to cut supplies; these are the everyday stories in all departments and our armed forces face the same problems,” he said.

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President Akufo-Addo assured that with police being the first line of security and protection for citizens, having an efficient police service would boost the confidence of the public and by so doing get the support of the people.

“I am determined to give whatever support is required from government to ensure that we have the service that the people of Ghana deserve. We must get a more professional police service, where recruitment and training practices are of acceptable international standards,” he said.

 

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