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Crime & Punishment of Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Source: The Chronicle

Police probe death threats on T’Poly lecturers

The Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) and the Regional Command of the Ghana Police Service (GPS) have commenced investigations into the circumstances under which some vociferous lecturers of the Takoradi Polytechnic, who are also members of the Governing Council, continue to receive death threatening text messages on their phones.

A source at the Police Command, which confirmed the investigation, added that some of the lecturers, who were recipients of the threatening text messages, had lodged a formal complaint with the police.

About seven lecturers, including the Acting Rector of the Polytechnic, Dr. Emmanuel Okumi-Andoh, Chairman of the Polytechnic Council, Mr. J.E. Ackah, and the Chairman of the Polytechnic Teachers Association of Ghana (POTAG), Mr. Michael Appiah, have had their phones inundated with death-threatening text messages.

Another member is Mr. Asiedu Kokuro, POTAG Secretary, amongst other staff members.

The text messages sent by the faceless people warned the recipients to stay away from doing anything to block the Rector of the Polytechnic, Rev. Professor Daniel Nyarko, from returning, after his two months leave for the year.

The messages threatened to deal ruthlessly with the recipients if they ignored the advice and warnings to stay off the path of the Rector.

The message reads: “Any attempt to disgrace my uncle on his leave not to come back soon. Then the blood will flow. All the seven of you. You Appiah, Aremu, Nana Otch, Mussey, Zeimah, Selasi, Sammy. We know where you people stay. We are waiting on Friday. If Rector doesn’t come immediately after meeting…Then count dead,” the message concluded.

The death threatening message came before the Council members took the decision to block the bid of the Rector to continue in his position, after embarking on a two-month leave for this year.

The Council, at its Friday meeting, decided not to renew the mandate of the Rector, after a tug of war between the Council and the Rector, on whether or not a five-month leave accumulated by the latter should be converted into cash.

Addressing a press conference, Mr. Michael Appiah, who is the Polytechnic Teachers Association of Ghana (POTAG) Chairman on campus, told newsmen that the recipients of the message have all lodged complaints with the police.

According to him, the death messages had been taken serious, following the weird circumstances under which a lecturer of the school was recently murdered, and his body thrown on to rail line to make it look as if he had been knocked down by the train.

It is upon that, he said, the lecturers were leaving no stone unturned to impress upon the police to get to the root of the threatening text messages they continue to receive.

Asked whether the messages could be linked to the stance by the members of the Governing Council to block the bid of the Rector from continuing in his position, Mr. Appiah explained that he could not.

To him, what was important is that the police get to the root of the text messages and apprehend the one behind it.

The Police Command has since moved into action, beefing security on the campus.

As at the time of leaving the polytechnic, a police patrol vehicle was on duty.

What is, however, not known is whether the police would personally protect the seven Governing Council members?