The spate of armed robberies that has hit the city of Tamale in recent times is rattling nerves. Lives have been lost, properties stolen and vandalized.
In the immediate aftermath, citizens have been left wondering if they will be the next target of brazen armed robbers who have shown no compunction in brutalizing and terrorizing their victims.
Paralyzed by fear, Tamale residents are counting on authorities to come up with proven ways to stop the armed robbers and return the city to the days when life was low-key, sweet and dandy.
They want nothing but a heavy-handed approach to the menace, the ever increasing danger of armed banditry.
In other words, Tamale residents would rather the security forces use all the resources they can marshal and apply whatever force allowed under our laws to stop the criminals dead in their tracks so they would no longer be a threat to our way of life.
Tamale residents have one message for their security forces: they should spare no effort in bringing the criminal enterprises tumbling down.
And as if on cue, Mr. Salifu Saeed, the regional minister obliged; he has heard the pleas, the cries of the anguished residents of Tamale, and has promised to bring fire and brimstone to the fight against armed robbers who have elected to visit terror and mayhem on his constituents.
But the struggle against armed banditry in Tamale would only succeed if Mr. Saeed is able to squeeze something meaningful from higher ups, the starched bureaucrats in the nation's capital, Accra.
It is entirely his responsibility to prod and convince his political bosses that police officers in the northern region are in desperate need of equipment to better serve and protect the citizens of the region, Tamale, specifically. The onus is now on the regional chief executive to match his words with action.
And Mr. Saeed should not forget to inform his superiors that one factor that may be driving young men to take up armed robbery is the acute lack of jobs.
Unemployment is a national problem, but it is widely acknowledged that the northern region is disproportionately afflicted with higher unemployment numbers than any other region in the country. It thus needs special attention from the central government.
The rising level of criminality in our country is frightening, and nightmarish and should be a concern to all. But, frustratingly, there appears to be no end in sight to the madness.
Mr. Saeed has a lot riding on his back. Tamale residents will endorse any policy he enacts to keep the city safe from the night crawlers, aka armed robbers.
Because if allowed to fester, crime will have a devastating impact on the progress the city is making; its dynamism will be scaled back as visitors and investors find other places to spend their boatloads of money. Tamale just can't afford that, not at this critical stage of its development.