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General News of Thursday, 31 May 2018


First Lady not pursuing UGMC placard holding protestor case – Aide

First Lady, Rebecca Akufo-Addo is not pursuing any case against Reginald Sekyi-Brown, a student of the University of Ghana, who attempted to disrupt her speech with a placard on Wednesday.

“The First Lady is not interested in the matter. She doesn’t find anything wrong with it. She even told the police to let him go,” said her press secretary on Eyewitness News today, May 30, 2018.

The police detained Mr Reginald Sekyi-Brown after he reportedly went “too close” to the First Lady who was delivering a speech at a sod-cutting ceremony for the construction of a pediatric intensive care unit at the hospital.

Reginald Sekyi-Brown has for some time now been leading a campaign on social media for the immediate opening of the University of Ghana Medical Centre with the hashtag: #OpenUGMCNow and held a placard with the same inscription at the Korle Teaching hospital.
The Accra Regional Police Command PRO, Efia Tenge confirmed Reginald’ arrest on Eyewitness News, saying “the Police interrogated him to find out who he was, what he was holding and whether he had any ulterior motives.”

“We don’t need to see a person physically with a weapon before we whisk them away,” she added.

Reginald had earlier narrated circumstances leading to his arrest, saying “When I was brought here [Korle Bu Police station], I was told to write a statement and what they intimated when I was being brought here was that I disrupted the programme.

“There was a tall, lanky woman who said the bag I was holding might contain certain dangerous equipment and that they should bring it to the station to verify what I might have in the bag. When she made that statement, I stated that if she is accusing me of carrying such dangerous materials, the burden of proof lies on her and my bag is right before them; they can search it. I have my laptop, I have my iPad, I have iPhone and my charger, those were the items in my bag, and if that is what we call harmful in Ghana then that is unfortunate,” he added.

Richard Darko also rejected claims that the First Lady ordered Reginald’s arrest.

He said, “officials of the First Lady did not arrest Reginald; it was the Korle Bu police officers who picked him up.”

“I think they did that because they felt he had come too close to the First Lady. And he had all the chance to make his case, but he waited until the First Lady got to the middle of her speech before putting up such action.”

“For me, I don’t understand much of security issues, but I think the police detained him because they felt it wasn’t fair for him [Reginald] to come to that extent. So they wanted to question him and find out why he came there. He had all the distance to do whatever he wanted to do. He was standing at a far distance, but nobody stopped him but when he started moving to straight to the First Lady that is when he was stopped.”

About the UG medical centre

Although former President John Mahama commissioned the first phase of the University of Ghana Medical Center (UGMC), the Akufo-Addo government is yet to open the facility to the public, citing technical reasons.

Citi News gathered that the facility which was scheduled to open in November 2017, was kept locked to the public due to a tussle between the Minister of Health and the University of Ghana over who manages the $217 million facility.

After stating various reasons why the facility cannot be opened now and having all deadlines set to operationalise the facility expired, the facility is yet to be opened.

The last public comment about the state of the hospital was by the Minister of Health, Kweku Agyemang Manu in April.