It has been two past weeks of serious and worrying impunities, the type that causes irreparable heartaches and numbness to loved ones.
The first week brought us the disturbing story of three kidnapped teenage girls in the Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis in the Western Region whose whereabouts was still unknown to the police despite the fact that a key suspect had been in their grips for weeks. We moved on to another week and just as we were discussing these and various accounts of kidnapping attempts in the country, the nation was hit with a gruesome treatment meted out by a pregnant step-mother to her five-year-old stepson.
Her insensitive punishment to a stepchild who had defecated on the floor resulted in the amputation of the boy’s hand. We are living in dangerous times and the callousness and premeditated wickedness of some have woken us all up to the danger we live with.
In all these worrying situations, it is for the proactive actions of the media and some concerned individuals that have stood out tallest. The media took both social concerns with all the seriousness they deserved, stood up and cried out so loudly that the woes of three teenagers kidnapped under mysterious circumstances could no longer be wrapped in secrecy. They needed to be unwrapped for the public to be informed while soliciting for witnesses to come forward.
In the case of the kidnapped girls, the pressure emanating from the work of the media has in some way prompted some positive moves rather than inaction. Now we are being informed that investigators from the United States of America and the United Kingdom have arrived to assist locate the kidnapped girls. It has been four good months down the line but at least good sense is prevailing so those who may be premeditating similar crimes would know that their misdeeds would not go unnoticed.
The media needs to be saluted because they have intensely used their airwaves and print spaces to give us vivid accounts of how vulnerable we all are in the communities we live in. They have succeeded in raising alarm and warned us about dangers in a community where, unfortunately, each man lives for himself alone.
Why because we are told the first kidnap case happened four months before the second and third. It took the sad incidence of further kidnaps for the cries of relatives to be heard simply because the media raised red flags. So why would impunities and lawlessness not continue if perpetrators are made to believe that they can get away with their crimes because they see no one in a hurry to pursue them?
Fear and panic
Naturally, the silence on the part of the security forces resulted in fear and panic particularly among the young women in the metropolis and who now feared going out or speaking to strangers. The taxi business in the metropolis is reportedly suffocating as young women especially have abandoned their patronage for fear of being kidnapped.
But thanks to the media, the heightened awareness using the social media, pictures and news flashes were all up to scratch. Sending reporters to the communities and getting people to speak on camera, tracing the steps and piecing together eye witness accounts in the whole saga have succeeded in drawing minds and hearts to the issues at stake and causing a bigger awareness for us to be more safety conscious.
The active role of the media in all of that must have given consolation to the parents and other relatives of the girls. Psychologically they must have come to terms with their situation, convinced that their case was being attended to and it would be a matter of course for their loved ones to be reunited with them. It has been so consoling to see eyewitnesses coming out with accounts that could be of value to the police CID investigating the kidnappings.
The case of the five-year-old stepson who has had his arm amputated due to an injury caused by his step-mother has also been well covered once again by the media. If ever the woman at the centre of the case thought that in her small corner in the Central Region no one was ever going to discover her insensitivity and wickedness, the media has made her and many others like her know that no crime would be left uncovered.
For now, let us applaud the media the loudest for helping to unravel the social evils that confronted us this and last week. We need some more of such proactive and refreshing reporting to help unravel the cankers we live with.