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Opinions of Saturday, 27 August 2016

Columnist: Daily Guide

Obinim saga: Without decency, dignity

Bishop Daniel ObinimBishop Daniel Obinim

Bishop Daniel Obinim’s arrest and matters arising thereof have exposed our failings in the manner we handle suspects. There is so much unnecessary excitement to please their bosses by the police when such occurrences come their way that we are at a loss for words to describe the near state of emergencies they create.

The water cannons and baton charges originated from the way the Obinim matter was handled. What we thought was an ordinary assault case and alleged fraud, an outrageous amount being at the centre, should not have ignited so much fire and security theatricals.

Obinim’s story follows in the heels of others recorded in recent times when two pharmaceutical companies were targeted for destruction. These have left a scar on law enforcement and governance in the country. In the eyes of first-timers to the country, we have fallen short of civility.

Bishop Obinim reported himself to the police after making negative headlines on his infamous assault of two persons said to be his wards. His turning up at the police station followed an impression created that he was avoiding the police; he was seemingly declared wanted. What followed has been so nasty that it provided the media with sufficient fodder to make front page stories for many days and still counting.

Every Ghanaian should be concerned about what befell the founder of the Godsway International Church because anybody could suffer a similar fate in the hands of the police.

Handcuffing a suspect in the manner the gentleman was, leaves much to be desired. As if that was not enough, an orchestrated plan was hatched to have the image of the humiliating posture carried by the major newspapers in the country.

It is not for us to discuss the merits or otherwise of the charges levelled against the man. That is beyond our remit, more so since the matter is before a court of competent jurisdiction. Suffice it to point out that we are appalled at the spectacular breach of decency, more so this would not be the last time if nothing is done to pull the brakes over it.

What panned out suggested that the law enforcement authorities had deemed the suspect guilty already for which he deserved what befell him.

Most of the cases which engender so much noise in the media end up with the suspects being let off the hook, charges subtly dropped with no apologies rendered the victims of the unnecessary high-handedness.

We doubt if we are growing as a nation. A country where the dignity of the individual citizen can be so trampled whimsically is not worth dying for.

We need a paradigm shift in the way we enforce the law. Such unnecessary fanfare in the face of yet-to- be-tried cases is crude and unfortunate in a country which is so noisy about a so-called progress in human rights.