intro Essay

Drugs according to the Concise Oxford Dictionary 12 Edition is a medicine or

other substance which has a marked physiological effect when taken into the body or a

Don't use plagiarized sources. Get Your Custom Essay on
intro Essay
Order Essay

substance with narcotic or stimulant effects. Drugs are mostly administered in order to

enhance performance, induce stupor or insensibility . Drugs hitherto are used either to

prevent or cure illnesses. A new dimension of drug usage has evolved this includes the

user of such hard drugs as Cocaine, Heroine, Opium and Synthetic Opiates substances,

Marijuana, and Anabolic steroids.

It is the use and transit of these illicit hard drugs

that must be combated from a social, economic and political front by all government if it

must be eradicated.

2. Recently it has been observed that drug traffickers are increasingly using West

African countries along the Gulf of Guinea as transit points for drugs from Latin America

into Europe and North America . Ghana in the year 2005 recorded the highest number

of arrests of persons trafficking drugs through the Kotoka International Airport.

4. It is evident that the ongoing illicit drug transit crisis in Ghana is not an isolated case but part of the regional problem. The paper would consider the causes of the transit of illicit drugs, the effects and the efforts being made by the government and the security agencies at combating it.


5. The aim of this paper is to discuss the transit of illicit drugs, it’s implications and effort at combating it.


6. Discovery of New Route. A critical analysis of the situation revealed that South American drug cartels in a bid to avoid the intensified enforcement strategies adopted by the European countries, particularly, United Kingdom, Spain, France and Italy have diverted their illegal trade route through Africa. Drugs seized in recent years have their origin from Venezuela and Columbia and transported by sea and offloaded on the beaches along the Gulf of Guinea .

7. Judicial Malpractice. Justice delayed, they say, is justice denied. Until the establishment of the Fast-track courts, the justice system was characterized by long delays in the hearing of cases. These long delays enabled unscrupulous judges to tamper with judicial proceedings by indulging in underground dealings with parties to a case who could buy justice. Dr Addo Kufuor, The Interior Minister in his maiden visit to Narcotic Control Board (NACOB), chastised the judiciary for what he referred to as ‘sluggish’ approach to prosecute drug suspects in the law courts . Drug related crime is one of the few crimes for which the laws of Ghana allow that a person may be refused bail, however a number of persons arrested were released after a few days of detention. An example, was the release from detention of Mr. Alex Awua Kyeremanteng, a former Presidential aide at the Office of the President at the Castle. He was arrested by security personnel at the Kotoka International Airport for allegedly attempting to smuggle Cocaine out of the country .

8. Network of Collaborators. The trafficking groups of illicit drugs have been noted to be well networked in the global illicit drug trade. The poor security network, long stretch of unguarded coastline and porous borders facilitated the transit of the illicit drug. In 2006, South American cocaine trafficking rings increased their foothold in Ghana, by establishing a well-developed distribution networks run by Nigerian and Ghanaian collaborators. Ghana’s interest in attracting investment provides good cover for foreign drug barons to enter the country under the guise of doing legitimate business. South American traffickers have reduced the need to visit Ghana in person and have rather increased their reliance on local cohort to avoid arrest by local authorities .

10. Socio-Economic Factors. The desire by many Ghanaians to migrate to Europe and USA, the craze for material possessions and the high rate of illiteracy predisposes such migrants to the schemes of drug dealers who lure and recruit them to convey their illicit drugs to the consuming countries. In January 2006 at Dublin Airport, Mr Vincent Stein, a 23-year-old Ghanaian was found with 75 pellets of cocaine in his stomach with the street value worth more than ˆ40,000 .

11. Security Agents Involvement. The involvement of the security setup in drug issues is a contributing factor to the trend. The year 2006 was marked by a series of cocaine scandals, including allegations of security agencies complicity in cocaine trafficking. The security agencies interdicted a ship, the MV BENJAMIN, alleged to be carrying 2-tons of cocaine, but only 30kg was declared as seized. An Assistant Commissioner of Police and five other police officers were arrested for their alleged involvement loss of the cocaine from the MV BENJAMIN. The worst incident was the loss and the substitution of seized cocaine in custody at the Police Headquarters strong room under close circuit cameras.


13. Concealment. The drug traffickers have adopted several means to conceal the drugs to avoid detection and arrest. The methods identified include flying numerous body couriers aboard the same flight, a strategy that sacrifices a number of couriers and part of the shipment in order to ensure a successful smuggling operation. Narcotics are also often repackaged hidden in shipping containers and air cargoes. The individual concealment methods include use of false bottom suitcases, bricks of cocaine hidden inside women’s ornate hair-dos, cans of tinned soup, yoghurt containers and bricks of marijuana hidden in hollowed-out wooden.


14. Increase in Criminal Activities. A survey has shown that those who engage in criminal activities often use illegal drugs such as cocaine, Indian Hemp and cannabis to carry out their heinous crimes. Mr Michael Addo, Director of Administration and Finance of the NACOB disclosed that some of the transported drugs are left in the country for consumption by the people particularly the vulnerable youth . The high incidence armed robbery, social vices and fatal accidents are partly due to drugs.

15. Negative International Image. The negative publicity that Ghana is experiencing is worrying it is tagged as the hub or the number one transit point for illicit drugs to Europe. Some of the effect of this includes the humiliation of Ghanaian Diplomats and innocent travellers through body searches by security men at the major airports.

16. Corruption. Drug lords are alleged in various sectors of the Ghanaian society to have directly as well as indirectly been the financiers of some Politicians as well as their Parties. A typical example is former the Member of Parliament of Nkoranza in the Brong Ahafo Region, Mr Eric Amoateng who was arrested and convicted for importing Cocaine into the United States of America. Some politicians are alleged to on occasions pay huge sums of money to influence the electorate; amounts that are sometimes far in excess of their official remunerations.

17. Affluent Living. The acclamation of affluent life style has greatly rewarded the activities of the drug world. In the Ghanaian society today, the pleasures of the flesh are worshiped through due recognition of the importance of the ‘Rich’ in all facets of the society. Individual with elegant mansions and luxurious cars are recognized without questioning the source of the wealth.

Combating Efforts

18. Agreements and Treaties. Ghana is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1961 UN Single Convention, as amended by the 1972 Protocol. U.S.-Ghana extradition relations are governed by the 1931 U.S.-U.K. Extradition Treaty. In 1990, Ghana enacted a comprehensive Narcotics Control and Enforcement Law which established the Narcotics Control Board as the Government’s central coordinating agency with regard to drugs, and criminalized money-laundering and all proceeds from drugs. In 2003, Ghana signed a bilateral Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement with the United States. In July 2006, Ghana ratified both the UN Convention against Corruption and the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption. Ghana has not signed the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.

19. Multilateral Cooperation. To build the capacity of the narcotic drug enforcement in the country, the Narcotics Control Board is collaborating with Her Majesty Revenue Customs (HRMC) to undertake an on site training and exchange of expertise on airport interdictions. (Operation Westbride). In 2002, the United States provided the Government of Ghana counternarcotics assistance in the form of surveillance and detection equipment, worth $64,000, including two narcotics detection devices (“Itemisers”) installed at Kotoka International Airport in December 2003 . This collaboration also has enabled the British officers and their Ghanaian counterparts to blend local profiling techniques with intelligence from the UK to apprehend drug couriers at the airport.

20. Domestic Education Programs. There is concern that the increased trans-shipment of illicit drugs through Ghana might have a spillover effect, resulting in increased drug abuse in the country and steps are The Narcotic Control Board in collaboration with Ministries of Health and Education, schools, professional training institutions, churches, local governments, have initiated a new educational drug campaign across the country to sensitize the populace on the negative and harmful effect of drugs. Board members and staff frequently host public lectures, participate in radio discussion programs, and encourage newspaper articles on the dangers of drug abuse and trafficking. Although treatment programs have lagged behind preventative education and enforcement due to lack of funding, there are three government psychiatric hospitals receiving drug patients, and three private facilities in Accra, run by local NGOs, also assisting drug abusers. The NCB also began efforts to sensitize coastal fishermen on the dangers of getting involved in the drug trade and on the need to cooperate with law enforcement officials.

21. Law Enforcement Efforts. The law enforcement agencies continued to conduct joint police/NCB operations against narcotics cultivators, traffickers, and abusers. NCB agents, who are not armed, rely upon the police’s Criminal Investigative Division’s (CID) narcotics unit in situations requiring armed force. It has for that matter re-instituted the inter-agency committee on Drug Law Enforcement to meet once every month to exchange information and plan strategies to combat the menace. NACOB has made an impact at the KIA and therefore created awareness about the consequences of being arrested for directly or indirectly trafficking of narcotics through the KIA . The provision of an X-ray machine at the Kotoka International Airport, speed boats to patrol the coastline, as well as the intensive and effective training of personnel at the Narcotics Control Board, Navy, Police and other stakeholders could make a positive impact on the campaign against drugs. In addition to a number of Ghanaians, courts sentenced citizens of Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Togo, Guinea, Belgium, and Germany.

22. Manpower Training. In the area of maritime drug trafficking, the World Customs Organization (WCO) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) are collaborating to assist Ghana to implement the Global Container Control project at the main harbor in Ghana to undertake container profiling. In this direction, officers from the Narcotics Control Board, Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS), Police and other agencies are currently undergoing training for the commencement of the project. The establishment of an office in Accra by America’s Drug Enforcement Administration is expected to provide greater impetus for the fight. The office, when established will increase DEA’s effort in fighting the drug menace in the West Coast Region, as more personnel are expected to be recruited to beef up the fight. , DEA provided a two-week basic narcotics investigations skills course for NCB and other GOG counternarcotics staff in November 2006.

23. Regional Integration. The continuous increase in the use of sophisticated and cunning methods in the operations by the drug barons is worrying. A wider network of an integrated regional grouping will be more effective at tackling the problem on regional basis. Ghana has taken the lead steps to combat illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances and has mounted major efforts against drug abuse.


24. The transit of illicit drugs is an act goes contrary to criminal code. The Ghanaian society in recent times has experienced an upsurge in the transit of various illicit drugs through the country to Europe. (1, 2, 3, and 4)

25. Acts of affluence display of luxury in Ghana seem to have been accepted as norms because source of the wealth are not questioned. The youth are lured by the drug lords with the promise of huge financial this has necessitated the NACOB to intensify their effort at combating the trend. (7, 8, and 9)

25. Various conditions account for the high incidence of transit of illicit drugs through the Ghanaian society. Some of these include the high rate of illiteracy. Low income levels render parents incapable of living up to their responsibilities. Irresponsible parenthood results in children engaging in all sorts of undisciplined acts with the support of their parents. Peer and group pressure account for acts of indiscipline among the youth especially those in the educational institutions. The justice delivery system is sometimes home to judges of questionable character. (Para 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14)

26. Transit of illicit drugs is manifested across the economic, political and social divide ranging from government functionaries, parliamentarians trafficking illicit drugs. The security agencies have ironically become party to the menace. Society endorses drug barons when they give their support to their political choices irrespective of the means used to get acquire their wealth. There is deep involvement of the security agencies in the transit of the illicit drugs. (15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 and 23)

27. A serious sensitization and education of the public on the effects of the use and transit of illicit drugs one way of addressing the problem. They must be rewarded for good work and equally sanctioned when they fail to perform. (24, 25, 26, 27, 28, and 29)


28. The following recommendations are made:

a. Educational campaigns should be organized to sensitize Ghanaians on the need to lead disciplined lifestyles. (34)

b. A working definition of indiscipline should be developed and made known to every Ghanaian. (34)

c. A list of the common day-to-day undisciplined behaviour that must be brought under control should compiled and made public. (34)

d. Identifiable heads of MDAs should be made responsible for the various acts of indiscipline that fall within their sectors. (34)

e. Heads of MDAs and all stakeholders should be rewarded or sanctioned depending upon their ability to address acts of indiscipline (34)

the provision of an X-ray machine at the Kotoka International Airport, speed boats to patrol the coastline, as well as the intensive and effective training of personnel at the Narcotics Control Board, Navy, Police and other stakeholders could make a positive impact on the campaign against drugs.

Still stressed from student homework?
Get quality assistance from academic writers!