Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the Statement by my hon. Colleague, and interestingly, Mr. Speaker, I am learning today that it is because of the recent spate of unemployment that there is armed robbery. I am surprised that it is now that we are talking about increase in armed robbery cases being due to unemployment. Unemployment has been with us for several decades but robbery has been with us only for some decades now. So I am surprised that we are noting that unemployment is the cause.
Mr. Speaker, I am saddened today by
this Statement, especially in relation to that poor lady who was only travelling from Tumu to Bolgatanga and found herself being raped and sexually abused under the circumstances. This depravity should be condemned by all of us. And it brings to the fore our views and our perceptions of what kind of punishment should be meted out to women generally. Maybe, I am not talking here just about Ghana but even about other countries within the West African subregion. It would appear that the armed robbers thought the best punishment for this woman would be to rape her; this is a serious social issue that we should look at.
When we raise issues about gender and the social context, these are some of the things that we would want people to consider and to know that the kind of thinking and the kind of bullying tactics, and the kind of superiority that we may want to exert where women are concerned, does not in the long term help us in our socio-economic development. I feel sorry for the lady and I hope that the hon.
Member for the area has contacted her and has been able to support and console her; and I hope that he would do that on behalf of this House.
Mr. Speaker, in these days of HIV/ AIDS, I am even more scared to think about what the lady could have picked up because I am sure the armed robbers would not have thought of asking the male passenger to use condoms under those circumstances. And that could be another way of spreading HIV/AIDS and we should all be concerned. On this matter, even though we may have our vehicles, once in a while, we find ourselves using private vehicles so anybody can be affected under these circumstances. Through no fault of yours, you just want to travel and you end up contracting HIV/
But Mr. Speaker, it is indeed true that sometimes some of these offences are committed by persons from our neighbouring countries. In Mamprugu, between Janga Blubic and Walewale, early part of this year, some three Fulani people were arrested and sent to Tamale for prosecution. Obviously, we could not immediately trace the homes of these Fulanis in any neighbourhood within the Mamprugu area and within Upper East Region. So our conclusion was that they may have come from Burkina Faso. And here today we are being told that those who committed these offences spoke languages that showed that they were non-Ghanaians.
Only on Wednesday, Mr. Speaker, we had the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, NEPAD and Regional Integration, Mr. Akwasi Osei-Adjei, eloquently making a Statement on the necessity for regional integration, support for free flow of goods and persons. But at the same time, with these recent issues coming up
-- I am not saying that the youth of Ghana do not also engage in armed robbery, but it is also a fact that we have some other people crossing in from our borders and dealing with us.
When it is our people within the country, I believe the police would take up the challenge and work towards tracing them. But if these people are able to cross over to the neighbouring countries, how are we going to get them? Even in the face of preaching regional integration -- and I am in support of regional integration -- But we should also consider the fact that some cross-border crimes are affecting our socio-economic development and we need to rise up, on this occasion, and ensure that the necessary relationship is established, the necessary connection is made.
I will therefore call on the Minister for Foreign Affairs, NEPAD and Regional Integration and the Minister for the Interior to link up with their colleagues across these areas, especially the Tumu border area, Paga border and various borders along the line, and indeed other parts of the country, to raise this issue of cross-border crime, especially in relation to robbery, rape and sexual abuse. I am hoping that having done that, they may have the opportunity to report to this House so that we can take some action.
I do take this issue seriously and I hope that we can get to the bottom of it, find some answers, because the lady would be asking questions as to whether her security is being undermined. We need to ensure that the women of Ghana are secured even as we go about our normal businesses in the country.
Mr. Speaker, we expect that we co-exist with our neighbours along the borders and I can just imagine that with these kinds of cross-border crimes next time we will not see people in Tumu, or the