Residents of the Eastern Regional capital, Koforidua, have expressed concerns over the increasing spate of crime in the region, which they believe is primarily caused by the absence of street lights in the area.
Several residents in the New Juaben municipality have fallen victims to activities of these criminals.
Most of them lost their mobile phones, purse and bags containing money at gun or knife-point.
According to residents, one can hardly take a quiet walk in the streets after an evening meal without being accosted by knife-wielding thugs who demand personal belongings and money.
Afia Serwaa, who resides at Adweso SSNIT flat, but operates a shop close to the Adweso market, recounted her experience with criminals who snatched her bag, while she walked home with her three children.
“I was on my way home with my children when I heard the sound of a motorbike coming from behind me. The whole place was dark so I could not see when the light of the motorbike got close but before I realized, a man behind the rider reached out for my bag. He pulled it from me and I began shouting for help”.
“Eventually they went away with the bag which contained the day’s sales I had made from work. I blame the incident on lack of street lights in the area and the Police post which is also not in the area. If there was street light I would have seen the guys on the motorbike to even identify them. Now my children are all traumatized and we become scared anytime we close from the shop and we are heading home”.
Another resident, Nana Atuahene told Citi News the presence of thieves in the area is due to the absence of street lights.
“I always go for my daily jogging at 4:00am every dawn, and what I noticed is that only the street lights at the Koforidua Technical University work. The rest are all not working and this has prevented several people from coming out to exercise.”
“Pickpockets and other thieves we call ‘Kwashey boys’ have taken advantage of the darkness in the area, and are robbing innocent people of their mobile phones and other valuables.”
The New Juaben Municipal Engineer, Alex Tetteh, while admitting the lack of maintenance of these streetlights, said the Assembly is making efforts to procure a crane but needs assistance from central government.
“Our major challenge has been how to maintain the street lights. It is true several areas in the Municipality are without street lights but quite recently we distributed some street lights to various Assembly members for their areas and I know they have fixed them,” he said.
“From Adweso, Agyeiwaa lodge, Poly area and on the highway, the street lights are very long which requires cranes to be used in maintaining them. But as it stands, the Assembly does not have one so we are making arrangements to buy a crane from either Kumasi or Accra. I will suggest that government should also assist us with the maintenance because it involves a lot of money.”
By: Neil Nii Amatey Kanarku/citifmonline.com/Ghana