GENERAL NEWS

Minority supports lockdown of the country in response to COVID-19

By
Christopher Arko, GNAAccra, March 26, GNA
– The Minority in Parliament has added its voice to calls by some organizations
and individuals for the country to go into an immediate lockdown to prevent the
spread of the coronavirus.

The Caucus said the
exponential jump in the number of coronavirus cases from 68 to 132 cases in a
day shows that the situation was not getting any better and that things are
growing from bad to worse.

“With the kind of
expertise at the disposal of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) and echoed by
some well-meaning Ghanaians, I think that the time has come for the government
to listen to wise counsel,” Mr James Agalga, Ranking Member of Defence and
Interior Committee, said on Thursday.

In an interaction
with the media at Parliament House in Accra, Mr Agalga, who is also the MP for
Builsa North Constituency, refuted claims by a section of the people that a
lockdown is not practical in Ghana.

A section of the
public is of the view that a lockdown should not be introduced in Ghana in the
face of coronavirus pandemic because of Ghana’s large informal sector and
concerns on how the government is going to provide for the needs of the masses
in case of a lockdown.

Mr Agalga urged
Government to look for funds and support the country to go into an immediate
lockdown.

Mr Agalga referred
to suggestion from Mr Cassiel Ato Forson, Minority Ranking Member on Finance,
to the Government of Ghana to tap into the resources that have accrued from the
Eurobond the country issued to deal with the coronavirus crisis.

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Citing India and
South Africa which are in a lockdown, Mr Agalga said these countries have the
same characteristics like Ghana and that government can draw useful lessons
from those countries.

Mr Agalga, who is
also a former Deputy Minister for the Interior, expressed concern about the
country’s overcrowded prisons and appealed to President Nana Akufo-Addo to
exercise his prerogative of mercy under the 1992 Constitution of Ghana to grant
pardon to petty offenders who have been incarcerated in order to decongest the
country’s prisons.

He explained that at
the moment the country’s prison population is about 14,000 and yet the prison
facilities can only contain about 8,000 inmates, meaning that, overcrowding in
the prisons is about 50 percent.

“In this trying
moment, we must not forget our prison inmates” Mr Agalga said adding that
should there be any outbreak of the coronavirus disease in the prisons, the
nation would be heading towards a disaster. 

The former Deputy
Interior Minister said the last time the President granted pardon to prison
inmates in the country was ten days after he had been sworn into office in
2017, and since then he has not granted pardon to prisons inmates.

“I am saying that
there is a compelling reason why those powers which are provided under constitution
be invoked at this moment,” he said.

GNA

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