General News of Monday, 31 March 2014
A group of concerned Ghanaians have presented a petition to President John Mahama asking him to remove the National Security Coordnator, Lt. Col. Larry Gbevlo-Lartey from office.
The group has described the security chief as a threat to national security after he ordered his operatives to demolish a toll booth at the University of Ghana campus without prior notice to the school authorities. The members of the group include members of the University of Ghana community, parents of students at the school, friends and alumni of the University, and peace-loving and law-abiding citizens of Ghana both at home and abroad.
The petition which was presented on March 25 and signed by its conveners, Professor Akosua Adomako Ampofo and Langbong Bimi clarified that “the petition is without prejudice to any of the matters arising from the planning and implementation of the tolling; the recent closure of some access roads to the UG campus and the resort to one main entry/exit point (Okponglo road); or any on-going discussions about the Government repayment of the road-rehabilitation loan, or the University of Ghana Act.”
It further stated that “the issue we bring to you is one based purely on principle and the rule of law, and a need to be assured of our ability to live in peace without fear that the gavel of official might will descend on us should we as ordinary citizens, be in disagreement with government.”
The group instituted an online petition after the demolishing incident and collected signatures online and on hardcopy to support their demand. The petition was copied to The Minister of Education, Minister of the Interior and the MP for Ayawaso West Wougon Constituency.
Below is the petition presented to the President
President John Dramani Mahama
President of the Republic of Ghana
Tuesday March 25, 2014
Re.: Petition for the Removal of the National Security Coordinator
Following our letter to you of March 10, 2014, seeking audience to present a petition on the above subject (please find attached), we the undersigned have decided to present our petition via Courier services.
Our petition is borne out of the confidence that you are a supporter of the rule of law in our dear nation, and that you are sensitive to the concerns of the citizens, however insignificant that collection of individuals may be. The petition is without prejudice to any of the matters arising from the planning and implementation of the tolling; the recent closure of some access roads to the UG campus and the resort to one main entry/exit point (Okponglo road); or any on-going discussions about the Government repayment of the road-rehabilitation loan, or the University of Ghana Act.
As you are aware, around 1.30 a.m on February 18, 2014, the National Security Coordinator along with some other armed men, came to the University of Ghana campus and demolished a toll booth and a Security Post under construction. The National Security Coordinator subsequently admitted on various radio stations that he ordered the demolition and attempted to defend his actions by citing “traffic overflow” at the University entrance (Stadium). The demolition exercise took place without prior notice to the University management.
The incident has generated a considerable sense of insecurity both within and outside the University as people are uncertain what will happen next in cases of traffic overflow or any other situation that may be deemed to be a nuisance. We want to be assured that we will not have to live in fear of reprisals should the government, or national security apparatus consider any other matter to be a nuisance in future. We are of the view that discourse is a more preferable option to settling disputes than night-time attacks, most certainly in a matter involving “traffic overflow”. Discourse can lead to understanding, attacks only lead to a sense of fear and resentment.
Signatories to this petition include those who were supportive as well as those who were not supportive of the University’s tolling exercise; members of the UG community and outsiders; young and old; those at home and abroad. The issue we bring to you is one based purely on principle and the rule of law, and a need to be assured of our ability to live in peace without fear that the gavel of official might will descend on us should we as ordinary citizens, be in disagreement with government.
Our understanding of the revised University of Ghana Act (806) and what it allows the University to do; the processes the University begun towards the road rehabilitation and tolling; and the support the University received from the Ministry of Transport; all lead us to believe that the UG action to institute the tolling exercise was legal.
While we concede that the implementation of the tolling exercise may have been inconvenient to some motorists and members of the public, and that the University could have better managed both the public education and implementation of the exercise, we still believe that the demolition exercise was neither the legal, nor the wisest way to resolve any disagreements. A near-universal African proverb goes something to the effect that, One does not kill a fly with a sledge hammer lest one kills ones favourite goat.
We look forward to a favourable response from your Excellency to our petition. On behalf of the petitioners.
Akosua Adomako Ampofo
Cc.: The Minister of Education, Republic of Ghana
The Minister of the Interior, Republic of Ghana
The MP, Ayawaso West Wougon Constituency