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Stop Acid Attacks Now!!!

ACID ATTACKS are gradually becoming the most convenient way of retaliation and this year alone, notable occurrences have made headlines and attracted condemnation on many media platforms. Media reports on the phenomenon suggest an upsurge trend although there are no reliable statistics to support the assumption.

Recapping a few, the whole nation was thrown into shock and pain on 21st May, 2015, when the Upper East Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mahama Adams met his untimely death at the Bolgatanga Regional Hospital, where he was receiving treatment after an acid attack. This attracted a lot of media attention and since then the police have been working assiduously to get the perpetrators to face the full rigors of the law.

There was a similar report by Vibe Ghana on April 11, 2015, where a 19 year old girl, Vivian Adomako of Amenfi East District in the Western Region was also attacked with acid by her boyfriend for calling their relationship off owing to pressure from family.

A jealous husband who could not manage his strong infidelity suspicion of his spouse, Joyce Frimpongmaa, laid ambush and poured acid on her as she was preparing ‘koko’ for sale at Teshie-Nungua. This was a front page story in the Ghanaian Times newspaper on July 30 2015.

Sadly, a 22-year-old Anita Otema had her turn of acid attack orchestrated by her ex-boyfriend which left her blind in the left eye with severe burns all around her neck, arms and thighs. Myjoyonline.com reported this disturbing story also on 9th April, 2015.

As we speak, Esther Enyornam Pekyi has been on the run after pouring acid on her boyfriend, Eric Ohemeng at Madina for breaking up with her. This was splashed on citifmonline on 26th June, 2015. Eric Ohemeng, the victim has since been in critical condition at the 37 Military Hospitals and is reported to be battling for his life.

I could go on… and on… and on… but in order not to bore you with litany of events, I have to pause. Let’s understand, interrogate and try to appeal to the minds of potential perpetrators to reconsider their decisions no matter the pain caused. Acid violence is a worldwide phenomenon and as has been outlined, it is progressively gaining grounds in Ghana. We should not in the first place entertain it as a nation because we cannot fight the battle when it finally gains grounds.

Although not an expert in this area, literature has thought me that, the corrosive substance has a terrible effect on human flesh. It causes the skin tissue to melt and usually exposes the bones; and in some cases, dissolving the bone. When the eyes are attacked with acid, it damages these vital organs permanently.Many acid attack survivors have lost the use of one or both eyes.

The reasons for acid violence may be numerous but the most recurrent are reasons of rejection, rivalry and revenge.The perpetrators usually target the upper part of the victim to either maim, disfigure or cause a revulsion. Although the act rarely kills its severe physical, psychological and social scarscannot be ignored. Pathetically, acid survivors are often left with no legal recourse, limited access to medical or psychological assistance, and without the means to support themselves.

It is about time a distinct provision is created in the criminal code to handle such offence with stiffer punishment ascribed to offenders. Bangladesh, Pakistan and Cambodia played a key advocacy role against acid violence that led to legislative reforms in 2002, 2011 and 2012 respectively.Bangladesh and Pakistan for example, decreased reported cases of acid attacks since the government tightened up the rules on acid especially its sales

Secondly, the prevalence of attacks can be attributed to the easy availability of acid. If anybody could have access to the hazardous chemical at any time and at a low cost, I am sure we will have it tough as a country to put an end to the practice. Ghana can only make a head-way if we painstakingly monitor and regulate the sales of acid.

After attempting a few suggestions on ways of eradicating acid attacks let the conversation continue to increase awareness of acid violence and its attendant hazards. Irrespective of the reasons, I believe there is no justification for this kind of abuse. Let it begin with you.



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