Police officer demands fowl as bribe despite bird flu scare

A poultry trader at the Achimota Market in Accra, has told TV3 that in his bid to transport some healthy birds amidst a temporary ban on the movement of birds due to the bird flu outbreak, he was forced by a police officer to offer one fowl as a bribe.

Ghanaians who have had several encounters with the police in the matter of bribery and corruption, have often asserted that the demand for bribes by some officers of the security service has no limitation.

Beyond the demand for money sometimes as paltry as One Ghana cedi, some wayward officers go as far as demanding items of any kind particularly when vehicles are stopped with goods for various road offenses.

Narrating his ordeal to TV3 at a time when the poultry business has been severely affected due to the bird flu outbreak,  Samuel Asane said “The last time I went to Spintex Road to go and pick some broilers. On my way police stopped me at Tetteh Quarshie Roundabout asking me whether I was aware of the bird flu outbreak then I responded that I was. Then they asked me whether I also knew that I was not supposed to be moving birds from one place to the other. But I told them to check my birds to see whether there is any sick bird amongst them. They said they can’t do that and that they wouldn’t allow me to go. They threatened to send me to the police headquarters. Finally they asked me to give them one fowl else I would have to pay fifty cedis. So I gave them one foul and brought the rest”.

Meanwhile Samuel Asane says his business has taken a nose dive due to the bird flu outbreak.

“Now our customers have stopped buying our birds. Initially I use to bring between 500-600 birds, and then within a week I run out and go for more. But since the bird flu; even with fifty birds; it’s difficult to sell them off in three weeks” a poultry seller lamented.

Most hen-coops at the Achimota Market in Accra are empty following the refusal by poultry farmers to supply  birds.

Since the outbreak of the bird flu in Ghana, 23, 987 birds have died while 1, 103 crates of eggs and 37 bags of feed have also been destroyed. Three regions, Ashanti, Volta and Greater Accra have so far been affected with  over forty thousand birds culled.

Greater Accra Region is the worst affected, leading to a partial ban on trade and consumption of poultry by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture. According to a directive by government, birds are not to be transported across the regions.

Government  however says affected districts have enforced strict bio-security measures  under strict active surveillance to curb the spread.

By: Ebenezer Afanyi Dadzie/3news.com/Ghana

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