General News of Monday, 18 March 2013
Source: Public Agenda
The policeman who shot and killed a student attending a protest to protect a shrine in Vea, Bongo District, must be prosecuted, say the youth of the community.
Azaare Aniah Gideon, a final-year student at the University of Education, was taking part in a protest to protect the community's sacred shrine from destruction from a private contractor when he was shot and killed by a policeman.
The youth in the community are angry about the handling of the case, which is currently at the Attorney-Generals (A-G's) department, and are calling on the Acting Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr Mohammed Ahmed Alhassan, to prosecute the policeman involved and also investigate the role of DCOP Bright Oduro's role in the incident.
The youth group has alleged that DCOP Oduro helped the contractors blast the rocks which make up the shrine and tried to prevent the prosecution of the policeman who shot Aniah Gideon.
However, when Public Agenda contacted DCOP Oduro he denied the youth group's accusations. He said the police have completed their investigations and have lodged the docket with the A-G's department in the region for advice.
He said: "Who are we shielding? These people have said many things against me. Vea is just a small village in the region where I have been for four years. They make so much noise about me. Are they the only people in the region?"
DCOP Oduro said the protestors pelted the police with stones so the police responded with warning shots, adding that two police officers have been preliminarily identified as the shooters. He said investigations could not pinpoint who actually fired the fatal shot. He added that the group should ask the IGP about the transfer of the crime officer who they said was trying to uncover the truth, instead of asking him.
The Vea youth group has also questioned the Upper East Regional Minister, Mr Mark Oweb Woyongo, for helping Eunitack Limited, the contractors, to exploit the rocks at the shrine without consulting the local community. After being awarded the contract, Eunitack did not start work for over a year claiming that the Vea landowner was not allowing them to blast rocks for the reinforcement of the banks of the Vea dam.
However, the landowner has denied this. He said: "The Tindamas, being appreciative of the efforts of government to reinforce the dam embankment, provided alternative rocks to the contractor for the project. Besides those alternative rocks there are several other rocks surrounding the dam, including a quarry not far from the dam."
The community says the contractor rejected the Tindama family's offer and blasted the sacred rocks which led to the protest during which Aniah Gideon was shot and killed.