An affront to the law

An affront to the law

Last week, many Ghanaians were stunned with disbelief when a video that captured a pastor directing a church member to smoke dried leaves, suspected to be Indian hemp openly in the church, went viral.

The pastor, Francis Antwi, popularly known as Rev. Obofour, was arrested by the Accra Regional Police Command for asking one of his congregants to smoke the alleged banned substance.

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It turned out that the whole incident was a hoax and that according to the congregant, he was hired to do what he did for a cash reward.

This is absolutely an affront to the state and the country’s law. How on earth does a pastor hire someone to perform a hype and then turn around to describe it as a miracle.

Any pastor who engages in such misconduct or does anything that infringes on the law, will only end up as an anarchist and this is what yields to conflict between the State and the Church.

In Ghana, there is still a law that deals with the possession and smoking of any narcotic substance. Section 2 (1) (2) of the Narcotic Drugs (Control, Enforcement and Sanctions) Law, 1990 makes the possession of narcotic drugs illegal.

The law states that (“Any person who, without lawful authority, proof of which shall be on him, has in his possession or under his control any narcotic drug, commits an offence.

“Any person found guilty of an offence under subsection (1) shall on conviction be liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than ten year.”

It is our view that no effort is spared to allow the incident to travel the whole hog as the police commence investigation and that any culprit found to have infringed on the law should be punished accordingly.

While in years gone by churches and mosques were used to mobilise society for promoting good causes, in recent time, some bad lots are giving Christianity and Islam bad names.

The Daily Graphic recalls a report it carried on October 22, 2018, that more than 30 Primary school pupils and junior high school students had abandoned their homes, families and education to seek salvation at the Synagogue of Mercy, a church at Nambeg in the Jirapa municipality of the Upper West Region.

Parents and community leaders were livid over the role of Pastor Charles Ansoanuur, whom they accused of harbouring the minors after indoctrinating them to quit school to pursue religious redemption.

Just recently, on September 27, 2019, Nigerian police also found and freed more than 300 men and boys from a school in the northern city of Kaduna. Many of them were reported to have been tortured and sexually abused, and about 100 were found chained in a school building in Kaduna.

The Daily Graphic does not intend to question the dos and don’ts of the Church and Islam, but clearly, the whole country is replete with a number of faith-based bodies scattered across and very little is known about their activities.

As a nation, we definitely cannot sit and look on unconcerned for the unexpected to happen.

We are, therefore, calling on the leadership of churches and mosques, as well as other revered religious faiths not to sit unconcerned but to speak up against these rising dangerous trends.

Just as the church or the mosque wants to enhance morality in the communities, it is equally wrong for some of them to embolden their congregants to do what is morally offensive, wrong, unacceptable and an affront to the conscience of society.

Our security agencies must also be up and doing to be more proactive in dealing with some of these miscreants and what they do to infringe on our laws.

The excuse that the security agencies were unable to conclude investigations for lack of evidence would not have been the case if they had been proactive.

The earlier we put a brake to the activities of these so-called faith-based leaders, the better it would be for the good of the country and the world at large.

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