Release Awutu Senya East PC immediately for Ghana’s stability – Mahama to IGP

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Release Awutu Senya East PC immediately for Ghana’s stability – Mahama to Ghana Police Service.

The 2024 Presidential Candidate of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Dramani Mahama, has called on the Ghana Police Service to immediately release the detained NDC Parliamentary Candidate for the Awutu Senya East Constituency in the Central Region, Phillis Naa Koryoo Okunor.

Mr Mahama in a Facebook post on Friday evening, June 7, said “I urge the IGP to urgently reconsider his actions and release Naa Koryoo immediately for the sake of justice and the stability of our nation.”

News of Madam Phillis Naa Koryoo Okunor’s detention was first publicised by the NDC’s National Communications Officer, Sammy Gyamfi. According to Mr Gyamfi, no reason has been given by the police for the arrest and subsequent detention of Madam Phyllis Naa Koryoo Okunor.

In a post on his social media page, he described the development as an attempt to silence the NDC.

Giving more details, Sammy Gyamfi explained, “Her offence is simply that a weapon (gun) was found in her car. The said weapon is registered in her name. All the necessary registration documents have been submitted to the Police.

“Unlike, Hawa Koomson who in 2020 actually fired a gun at a registration center, Naa Koryoo has not fired any gun or weapon. Yet, the …Police service is hell-bent on detaining her.”

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He urged all party faithful to throng the Cantonments Police Station in Accra where Naa Koryoo Okunor has been detained.

The following public commentary on the arrest came from Mr John Mahama, the party’s 2024 flagbearer and former president, who said: “There is no justification for the decision by the Inspector General of Police George Dampare, on the orders of the National Security Advisor, Albert Kan Dapaah, to detain a Parliamentary Candidate for the Awutu Senya East Constituency in Police custody.”

This action, taken on the instructions of the National Security Secretariat, will needlessly raise the political temperature in the country and spark avoidable tension. The Police Service and the IGP must not allow themselves to be used to hang the peace and stability of our nation months before crucial national elections. I call on the IGP, the Peace Council, the government, and the people of Ghana to recognise that justice is not just a moral imperative but a crucial prerequisite for maintaining peace and stability in a nation.”

We cannot allow the police service to be used to stifle opposition and intimidate innocent Ghanaians and political opponents in the run-up to the 2024 elections. Clearly, the intention to detain her after she had already been granted bail is an attempt to intimidate the NDC Parliamentary candidate in her quest to unseat the Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture, Hawa Koomson, in the Awutu Senya East Constituency.

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“It is high time the police fulfilled their duty to serve and protect all citizens, irrespective of their political affiliations. #JusticeForNaaKoryoo. #FreeNaaKoryooNow.”

Background

On Sunday, June 2, 2024, the Ghana Police Service issued a statement claiming that three individuals were arrested at Ofaakor for possession of a firearm without lawful authority. The suspects, including Ms. Okunor, Mustapha Mohammed, and Abdul Aziz Musah, were apprehended while onboard a Honda CRV car with registration number GX-2044-19 near the Electoral Commission Office at Ofaakor.

During the arrest, a pump-action gun with four rounds of ammunition was retrieved from the vehicle. However, in an interview on Wednesday, June 5, Ms. Okunor emphasised that she was only invited by the police and not formally arrested.

She reiterated that the firearm found in her car was legally licensed. She also said she acquired the gun to protect herself from the incumbent NPP MP and Minister for Fisheries, Hawa Koomson, because the police had failed to protect her in previous altercations where the MP allegedly attacked her and in some cases fired gunshots.

“I have never been arrested. Yes, I was invited to the police station. I was not arrested. I was there because I had to go there.

“My driver was arrested, and my security guard was arrested because a licensed gun was found in my car…It was far away from the registration centre,” she said.

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Before the arrest over the possession of a gun, a clash between the NDC and the NPP at the EC’s office at Ofaakor in the ongoing votes transfer exercise had led to the stabbing of Ato Koomson, the son of the incumbent MP and Minister of Fisheries, Hawa Koomson, who was hospitalised. The suspect in that stabbing incident has also been arrested and detained.

It’s unclear whether the NDC Parliamentary Candidate’s subsequent arrest is related to the stabbing incident or rather the possession of a gun.

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