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Injustice! : Victims of police brutality in Upper East Region await justice, seek closure

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Every citizen is expected to place their trust and faith in the actions of the police service, as mandated by the laws of the country.

However, in a troubling series of events, people in the Upper East Region have begun raising serious concerns about the police force’s commitment to upholding the law and protecting citizens.

The Upper East Regional Police Command, in recent times, has come under serious scrutiny for its apparent failure to provide justice and compensation to victims who were brutalised by some police officers in 2021 and 2022.

These incidents have left individuals and families in distress, struggling to make ends meet while justice remains elusive.

One disturbing incident from 2021 involved Madam Faustina Aboba, a resident in the Bolgatanga Municipality, whose life was turned upside down when a police officer allegedly burned down her pub and rented apartment. The officer’s motive, as claimed by Madam Aboba, was her sister’s refusal to engage in a romantic relationship.

Despite being directed to submit a report on the damages and having the Fire Service department assess the situation, the police have failed to take responsibility.

Madam Aboba, who spoke to our reporter, Moses Apiah, said she now grapples with daily survival as her family’s welfare hangs in the balance.

“All that I need now is even if the police can come and fix the landlord’s apartment back for him. The apartment is in complete darkness. My landlord is old and does not have money. Even if I’m trying to pick a lawyer, people are saying that even if I do, I may still not get justice,” she said. 

When asked whether she was shocked that for the past two years, she had yet to receive justice, Madam Aboda said her most regrettable experience was that the said police officer had been reposted to the national capital and often made mocking comments about her and her family regarding their situation.

“Imagine if it was to be the other way round, would the police have been as relaxed as they are with my situation? I feel like there is no justice in this country for the less privileged.” 

In another incident from the same year, Francis Gbandan Mahama was shot in the leg by a police officer on the Pusu-namoo stretch of the Bolgatanga-Tamale Highway merely for riding a motorbike and refusing to stop when instructed by an officer. This shocking act of violence left Mahama, a resident in the Talensi District, physically and emotionally scarred, with no justice in sight.

In an interaction with Mr. Apiah, the brother of the victim, Anthony, said his brother is currently physically challenged as the leg that was shot has no strength to function like the other leg.

“As we speak, my brother is now seemingly disabled. He can’t longer do the things he used to do. The police also failed to properly compensate us. So, as a family, we are shocked at how the police have handled the incident.”

Anthony said that based on his interactions with the police officers he doubts if there will ever be justice for them.  

The injustices did not stop in 2021, as in 2022, a lady was shot by another police officer in the Karimenga stretch of the Bolgatanga-Tamale Highway in the North East Region. This occurred after a rider, who had picked up the lady, failed to stop as instructed by the police officer. 

Speaking to the victim’s brother, Godwin Wuni, he said his sister was currently at one of their relatives in Kumasi assisting them with their house choirs, but her living condition has been “disfigured” at some point as she continues to have some nightmares of the incident and often feel pains anytime she did any heavy work.

His sister was shot in the buttock by the said officer. 

These victims have endured unimaginable trauma, and their lives have been forever altered.

The actions of the said police officers have, of course, contradicted the Police Service Act 1970 (ACT 350), Section One, which states, paraphrased, that the Police Service must prevent and detect crime, apprehend offenders, and maintain public order and the safety of persons and property. Every police officer shall perform such functions as the law confers upon them and shall obey all lawful orders and directions from their superiors in the Police Service.

While these cases have caught the attention of the Inspector General of Police, George Akuffo Dampare, who later ordered the Upper East Regional Police Command to carry out investigations and provide appropriate compensation, the victims are yet to receive a single penny from the police. Their lives have become a constant struggle, and their pursuit of justice has been met with threats from the very officers responsible for their suffering.

At the time of writing this report, efforts to obtain responses from the Upper East Regional Police Command have proven futile, leaving the victims and their families in a state of despair and uncertainty.

As these victims continue to suffer, the Upper East Regional Police Command must take immediate action to deliver justice, compensation, and closure to those who have been wronged.

Source: A1radioonline.Com|101.1|Moses Apiah|Bolgatanga

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