The Ghana National Federation of Livestock Inter-Professional (GHAFLIP), has appealed to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to take urgent steps to address what it termed as harassment by Police officers at checkpoints.
The association said its members in the daily ply of their trade continue to get harassed by personnel of the service who extort monies from them at the over 58 checkpoints from Paga to Accra and other southern cities.
The federation said although members always did have all documentations to cover the livestock being transported and diligently followed all protocols from the veterinary service, Police officers on the highways always found a way to harass and extort monies from them right from when they set off from Paga to their final destinations.
The secretary of the federation, Alpha Boly Mohammed, who made the appeal in an interview after a two-day bilateral capacity building workshop for livestock actors from both Ghana and Burkina Faso, held in Navrongo under the Regional Sahel Pastoralism Support Project (PRAPS), said the extortion by Police officers has become alarming and was hugely affecting their trade.
Alpha Boly said even more worrying was how the livestock of traders are sometimes held up at checkpoints for rightly refusing to pay monies, which led to members incurring huge debts from the death of the livestock.
“Another challenge we have is that there are a lot of barriers on the road. When you are moving from Paga to Accra, you will meet over 58 barriers on the road and at each barrier you need to be stopped. And you know these are live animals that are in a very big truck and so if you are stopped for over 30 minutes, what it means is that air doesn’t move into the vehicle and what happens is that animals die and people lose big monies.”
“Secondly, there are a lot of extortions, every barrier you reach you need to pay money. Sometimes from Paga to Accra, you need to spent about GH¢3,000 at barriers and it is not helping us. If you fail to pay, your goods are held up and as you know these are perishable good. We are all partners in the trade so we should all help smoothen it,” he lamented.
President of the federation, Alhaji Moro Akakade who expressed similar worry, noted that the government was making huge gains from livestock traders and passionately called on the Ghana Police Service to swift address the difficult to enable members conveniently go about their trade for the growth of Ghana’s economy.
He lauded the Police service for setting up several checkpoints on the highway to curb the activities of armed robbers and make our roads safer. He however noted that a few bad nuts in the police service were abusing the checkpoints and needed to be dealt with rigorously.
Alhaji Akakade also talked about the effects of the differences in languages among members in the two neighbouring countries. He said members were unable to effectively communicate with their counterparts in Burkina Faso during their trade activities and that affected their business. He called for the assistance of the government of Ghana.
The two-day workshop brought together leadership from sister trade federations in Burkina Faso, cattle and small ruminant breeders and traders, the Ghana Police Service, the Ghana Immigration Service, the Customs Services and the Veterinary Service.
Members were educated on the livestock trade, its benefits and obligations of the Trade Liberalization Scheme. The security agencies and veterinary service took turns to also educate members on the requirements involved in the transportation of livestock from one part of the country to another.
Source: Senyalah Castro