Hon. Iddrisu Musah Superior, the Metropolitan Chief Executive (MCE) for Tamale Metropolitan Assembly in the Northern Region, has bemoaned the increasing level of social vices and other societal crimes among youth in the metropolis and vowed to stamp out the menace.
According to him, young boys and girls of ages between 9 and 10 years who are expected to be in schools have rather turned the forest reserves enclave in the Tamale metropolis into their dwelling base and doing all manner of businesses in the midst of criminals, mostly “wee” smokers and armed robbers.
The Tamale mayor made this known while interacting with this reporter in Accra over the weekend.
He said the forest enclave within the Tamale metropolis is a community on its own, as several reprehensible activities, including smoking, drinking, prostitution and selling of hard drugs are taking place.
“This is an old age phenomenon known to most chiefs, opinion leaders and previous city authorities who did little or nothing to prevent the children from being exploited sexually and ignorantly by those hoodlums who dwell in the forest.
“Most of the kids sleep there, drink, eat, defecate and run errands for those persons who serve as their “pay masters” inside the forest,” Musah Superior said.
He added that, the young miscreants also trade in different stolen items, such as motorbikes, bicycles, laptops, mobile phones and other appliances, and often sell them to their syndicated groups in Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region.
Those in the Bolgatanga area, he said, in return, also bring stolen items from their end and sell them to their counterparts in the Tamale forest reserve.
Against this backdrop, Musah Superior vowed to use all legitimate means to go to the rescue of the teenagers engaged in what he said are “wee” smoking, prostitution and other criminal activities in the Tamale forest reserves.
He explained that, the security and all concerned stakeholders have been informed of the need to get rid of the nefarious activities in the forest, stating, he would soon launch an operation to free the forest by early October, this year.
Musah Superior, who sounded very determined, expressed shock at the kind of activities being undertaken inside the forests and the large number of children involved, noting that since his assumption of office he has had restless nights as he goes undercover to identify himself with major issues and happenings in the city of Tamale.
He said, apart from the forest, he had also identified some of the teenagers also engaged in similar activities at night at the various lorry stations, the parks and gardens and other obscure places in the city.
The MCE observed that danger would befall the Tamale metropolis if immediate steps are not taken to save the young people in the metropolis from self-destruction as they obviously had lost a great deal of parental control.
He noted that, he has personally visited the Tamale forests at Aboabo and Gumani to interact with the teenagers and their so-called masters and expressed confidence that, with the collective efforts of chiefs, opinion leaders and other stakeholders, the teenagers could be transformed into responsible citizens.
Musah Superior stated that, if all persuasive tactics failed, he would be compelled to use a combined team of Military, Police and the assembly taskforce to arrest leaders who recruit the youth into the forest, stating he had already engaged them in awareness creation in a more persuasive form to get them vacate the forest.
“I have also served notices on the various radio stations, facebook, tweeter, Instagram and whatsapp platforms as part of my awareness creation and in my interactions with them, I have realized that genuinely some of them want to do great things for themselves but they are engaged in what they are doing because their parents could not afford their school fees and they are now school dropouts, ” the mayor said.
He also hinted that his administration had prepared a comprehensive support package to support the dwellers who want to go back to school either primary, junior high or senior high.
In addition to that, Musah Superior said the Assembly is working hand-in-hand with Not in Employment, Apprenticeship or Training (NEAT) Ghana, a non-governmental organisation to empower those of them who want to learn a trade with employable skills.
He said, the assembly would fully finance their apprenticeship and training and also secure them jobs so that they would not go back into the forest or the streets for criminal activities.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/Felix Engsalige Nyaaba