State remains committed to battling drug use - Vice President assures public
Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has given the firm assurance that the government remains committed to protecting the nation from illicit drugs.
To achieve that, he said the government would continue to retool all the security agencies, including the Narcotics Control Commission (NACOC) to protect communities, borders and, in particular, the youth who were the most vulnerable, from the use and impact of the trade in the illicit narcotics trafficking.
He noted that despite challenges faced by the Commission, the government was committed to ensuring that NACOC's operations and activities became a significant model for achieving its mandate.
“In view of that, the government is in the process of procuring more K 9 dogs for the Commission to enhance their operations at the Kotoka International Airport and other relevant operational areas to facilitate their surveillance,” Dr Bawumia added.
NACOC passing-out parade
The Vice-President said this yesterday at the graduation and passing-out parade of the Narcotics Control Commission (NACOC) Cadet Course 7, held at the Immigration Service Academy and Training School at Assin Fosu.
The graduation class was made of 78 officers who were taken through 14 weeks of mandatory basic narcotics cadet training programme to help boost the institution's manpower capacity in combating the country's illicit drug menace.
Among the dignitaries that graced the occasion were the Minister for the Interior, Ambrose Dery; the Minister of Defence, Dominic Nitiwul; the Director-General of NACOC, Kenneth Adu-Amanfoh, and the Central Regional Minister, Justina Marigold.
Additionally, some notable individuals from sister security agencies in attendance were the Comptroller-General of Immigration, Kwame Asuah Takyi; the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Major General Thomas Oppong-Peprah, and the Director-General of Ghana Prisons Service, Isaac Kofi Egyir.
Also present were some traditional and religious heads of Assin Fosu.
A special parade, mounted by the graduates with support from the continuing officers, was inspected by the Vice-President.
It was a colourful and impressive parade as the graduating officers showed their well-rehearsed marching skills.
Four cadet officers were honoured for outstanding performances during the training. They were Roland Neequaye as Best in Drills; Mintah Yaw Nyarko as Best Male in Physical Training; Chelsea Bawumia as Best Female in Physical Training and Ivon Walier N. Kuutiero as Best in Academics, and the Overall Best Cadet.
Dr Bawumia said the world drug problem required international cooperation and collaboration in dealing with the trans-national nature of the problem and the international organised criminal gangs who were involved in the illicit trade.
He said the country stood ready to collaborate with all relevant international bodies and organisations in dealing with the world drug problem.
In that regard, the Vice-President mentioned that the government was working and collaborating with other countries such as the United States of America, United Kingdom, Germany and other organisations such as United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) and ECOWAS in the area of drug law enforcement, and also supporting the Commission in a variety of ways, such as capacity-building and equipment to improve its operations.
Vice-President Dr Bawumia charged the officers to view their duty as a very sensitive institution which required commitment, integrity and loyalty to the country because the people were depending on them to secure the country’s borders.
He said their service to the country must be their top priority, adding that “it is critical for you to uphold your oaths of allegiance, office and secrecy to help complement the commission's mission and vision, because your graduation from the training school signifies your readiness to serve.”
“I urge you to be resolute and maintain discipline, resilience, and focus on your job description, as well as avoid engaging in activities that will not benefit your professional working life and have the potential to tarnish the image of our dear country,” Dr Bawumia emphasised.
The Vice-President also urged them to remain professional in their responsibilities and avoid being influenced by unpatriotic individuals acting primarily in their own self-interest to combat illicit drug trafficking and related organised crime.