The Nigerian citizen who allegedly led his compatriots to kidnap the three Takoradi girls has been sentenced to 36 months imprisonment for escaping from lawful custody. Though he had pleaded not guilty to the three charges brought against him – unlawful damage, escaping from lawful custody and resisting arrest – he was found guilty of the first two charges.
He was consequently sentenced 18 months for each of the two offences. The court, presided over by Mr. Michael Ampadu, could, however, not find the accused guilty of the offence of resisting arrest.
The prosecution had told the court that the accused escaped from lawful custody when investigations revealed that he was part of the gang that kidnapped the three Takoradi girls.
But the accused, in a sharp rebuttal, told the court he was aided rather by a police officer and one Kwesi to escape from cell. The accused could not name the said police officer who aided him to escape, but was quick to add that the said Kwesi was in a better position to name the said police officer. After going through the trial, the court held that the accused was giving conflicting evidence which could not be relied on.
The Chronicle congratulates both the police and court for the swift adjudication of the case, even though we think the two could have delved deeper to find out how the accused escaped when he was first arrested. It sounds strange that the suspect could use a hacksaw blade to cut the iron bars fitted to the ventilating windows without the personnel on duty hearing the noise.
The important news though, was that the suspect was re-arrested, put before court, and found guilty of escaping from lawful custody. But, whilst commending the police for the good work done, the larger task, we dare say, is the rescuing of the three girls kidnapped by the suspect and his accomplices.
The Chronicle is aware that kidnapping cases are always difficult to handle, but that is why the state spends millions of cedis to help them (police) acquire extra knowledge to handle such cases.
The whereabouts of the three girls is not the concern of their families alone, but all Ghanaians, and that is why the public is concerned about the long delay in rescuing them. But, whilst pressurising the police to found the girls, Ghanaians, especially parents, also have a duty to educate their children on how to mingle with foreigners they do not know.
Reports so far indicate that the kidnappers were friends to the three girls, and used that avenue to kidnap them.
The Chronicle is NOT calling for attacks on foreigners – far from that. Our concern is for the Ghanaian to take his or her personal security serious and avoid falling prey to these kidnappers, who, from all indications, are trying to use Ghana as their new base for operations.
As ACP Kwesi Fori assured the nation during a recent interview with The Chronicle, we know our security agencies are up to task, but we, as civilians, also have the duty to complement their efforts by providing them with the relevant information, and also taking our personal security serious.