Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah says the soldier alleged to have shot and killed a resident of Ashaiman over the weekend has been withdrawn from his duty post. “The officer involved has been withdrawn from the operations, taken in, disarmed and the investigations have commenced from the Military Police,” the Minister said.
A resident of Ashaiman was shot and killed when he allegedly tried to disarm a soldier who was conducting an arrest as part of the COVID-19 restrictions on movement. The development has sparked anger among community folks with the Member of Parliament for the area, Ernest Norgbey, calling for the immediate withdrawal of the officers involved.
The MP accused President Nana Akufo-Addo of being silent on that incident during his national broadcast giving an update on COVID-19 in Ghana.
“We in Ashaiman are disappointed in President Akufo-Addo who is Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces for his unacceptable silence on this major development when he addressed the nation on Sunday night, particularly as he sought to downplay the many incidents of human right violations and unwarranted excesses by security personnel enforcing his lockdown directives. A situation which the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice had had cause to publicly condemn,” Ernest Norgbey said.
But Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said President Akufo-Addo is committed to ensuring that civilians are not abused by security officers during the lockdown. He said among other things that, the President has ensured that there are channels for the public to report acts of misconduct by officers and also ensured that more senior officers are put on the street to supervise the conduct of junior officers.
“He has been predominantly concerned about the wellbeing of Ghanaians, ensuring that the poor and vulnerable are not given the hard end of the stick because of the lockdown…[He has ensured the] opening [of] feedback channels so that if there are issues we could draw their attention to it. He has been very concerned about it.”
“Today, we have more senior supervisors with the men on the street. We have issued a little booklet to the men out there to help guide them,” the Minister added, insisting that “I don’t think it is questionable the kind of commitment the president is having.”
The Minister, however, warned that persons who conduct themselves in any way including circulating malicious videos of officers unrelated to the COVID-19 operation will be dealt with.“Those who want to take advantage of the situation to perpetuate falsehood that can break the morale of the men and women who are on the frontline will not be countenanced.”
Meanwhile, another soldier stationed at Kasoa has been withdrawn to the military barracks after he was found to have abused a civilian by subjecting him to squats as punishment. The officer was heard in the viral video indicating that the action was to embarrass the civilian.