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Opinions of Monday, 14 January 2019

Columnist: Solomon Mensah

TALKING DRUM: Takoradi jail break, a case of criminals in uniform

“When the man who stole your bag of beans went out of the building, did the officer follow him outside?” asked Samson Luhila, the police commander at the Lusaka Central Police Station.

“He did, yes he did,” answered Nasula.

In his book, A Cowrie of Hope, Binwell Sinyangwe says Nasula’s eyes blurted. A notorious confident trickster named Code Silavwe had cunningly succeeded buying the poor woman’s beans not with money but sugar-coated words and had bolted.

We are told in that rich novel that the woman’s name [Nasula] meant ‘mother of Sula’ and Sula’s name translated as ‘Let things be.’ However, Nasula could not let things be over Code Silavwe stealing her only hope— the beans. It was the beans that would see Sula through school after it had been sold. Nasula had tracked Silavwe down and had had a policeman arrest him for prosecution. But, at the Lusaka Central Police Station where he was taken to, another police officer set him free!

When I read Binwell Sinyangwe’s book and heard about the news that a suspected kidnapper, Samuel Willis, had broken jail at the Takoradi Central Police Station in the Western Region, I said, ‘Hmmm!’

In Africa, we always share one story of pain and anguish engineered by those who are supposed to know better. Some of our politicians and other persons who hold leadership positions are so much fixated on filling their stomachs that the poor is oppressed at the betterment of the wo/man who is able to grease palms. It is, therefore, not surprising that issues in A Cowrie of Hope – a fiction – could manifest in our real lives.

The alleged kidnapper, according to reports, broke jail from the Takoradi Police Station on Monday, December 31, 2018, a day after he was arrested. This, being the account of the jail break as trumpeted by the police, weakened me. I tell you! Western Regional Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Olivia Ewurabena Adiku, had told the media that Willis broke jail with a hacksaw. Can you imagine? A hacksaw was used to cut iron bars while we are told that seven police officers were at post as of the time of the escape!

If our Inspector General of Police [IGP], David Asante Apeatu, were concerned about the security of Ghanaians, by now, the seven police officers together with Olivia Ewurabena Adiku [bearer of the fake news] should have been paraded to his office to answer some tough questions.

Samuel Willis was arrested on Sunday, December 30, 2018. He broke jail on Monday, December 31, 2018. Under this circumstance, it is hard to believe that barely a day of being in the cells, he managed to get hold of a hacksaw. Did anyone visit him on that Sunday? If yes, did the seven police officers on duty see the visitor bring the hacksaw to Willis? If they saw it, what did they do about it? If no one visited him and the police did not see such, the question remains on the ‘magic hacksaw.’

If the said officers at the Takoradi Police Station were not on Tramadol or perhaps a mill at the cells did not render them deaf, then nothing could be said to convince me about Willis’ jail break.

Interesting enough, the suspected kidnapper was re-arrested on Thursday night, January 3, 2019, from his ‘hideout’ in Takoradi. Here, the question the media failed asking is how the police swiftly arrested the suspect at his said hideout. How many times did the people of Takoradi not complain about kidnappings? When was the arrest first effected when the police knew Willis’ hideout?

I believe that one must not be told that this whole drama of a jail break was staged and directed by some insiders at the Takoradi Police Station as in the case of Nasula versus Code Silavwe.

On Sunday, January 6, 2019, when I interviewed the Executive Director of the Center for Human and Peace Building, Adib Saani, on Newsweek on 3FM [92.7] on the issue, he did not call a spade a spoon.

“It still boggles my mind how a suspect can escape from police cells, in Ghana, 21st century Ghana, with a hacksaw. Obviously, this is an inside job,” he said.

Indeed, when the world’s biggest mafia boss, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, hears of the Takoradi jail break account, he would even be surprised himself.

When reports indicate that within six months, the Takoradi Metropolis has seen a record of 10 kidnappings, then the situation is so alarming that residents must hit the streets again to further warn the police that freeing the suspect again will be ‘fire-for-fire.’

As it stands now, the story of the oppressed in our society is a horrifying one. But, we can only hope that just one day, we will have our Samson Luhila who would not be in bed with supposed criminals.

“Did the man who steal your bag of beans gave anything to the officer, who set him free, when he was leaving?” when our Luhila asks us this, as it was to Nasula, let us be bold to name names as we keep record of our abusers.

For the miscreants within our security services, banks, hospitals, civil service and even in the media, when your Nasula says of you that, “He passed him several notes as he was sitting in his car, before driving away,” remember then that your cup is full.

I would want to see the spirits of Philippines and Brazil’s presidents, Rodrigo Duterte and Jair Bolsonaro, respectively, in our successive presidents here in Ghana. Let us amputate the writs of criminals, hang them or give them life sentences, after they have been pronounced guilty of their crimes by a court of competent jurisdiction. By this, we will have a better society.

And let the police and government be reminded that the people of the Western Region and Ghanaians, at large, expect nothing but a clean investigation into this issue. Enough of Ghana Police Service’s blues!

The writer, Solomon Mensah, is a broadcast journalist with Media General (TV3/3FM). Views expressed here are solely his and do not, in anyway, reflect the editorial policy of his organisation/The Probe.


Twitter: @aniwaba

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