We can’t continue this way – Asiedu Nketia warns police over Awutu Senya East PC’s arrest.

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We can’t continue this way – Asiedu Nketia warns police over Awutu Senya East PC’s arrest.

The National Chairman of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Johnson Asiedu Nketia is warning the Ghana Police Service to be circumspect in its handling of political issues ahead of the 2024 elections.

He warns that the NDC will not tolerate the use of coercive powers of the state against its members.

Speaking at a press briefing held at the party’s headquarters on Saturday, June 8, Mr Asiedu Nketia said the law must not discriminate.

“The laws of the country are meant for all of us. There should be no discrimination in applying them. We will not be victims of the peace that the country enjoys. Freedom is not free. We will fight for freedom. We will not allow the coercive powers of the state to be used against us,” he stressed.

His comment follows the release of Madam Phillis Naa Koryoo Okunor, the party’s Parliamentary Candidate for Awutu Senya East in the Central Region, from police custody on Saturday.

Madam Okunor was arrested and detained on Friday, June 7, after an initial arrest on Sunday, June 2, 2024 where she had been questioned.

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The arrest drew condemnation from the NDC’s flagbearer, John Dramani Mahama who demanded her immediate release to ensure national stability. 

Subsequently, Sammy Gyamfi, the party’s National Communications Officer, urged party members to gather at the Cantonments Police station in protest.

Demonstrators, dressed in the party’s colors and chanting slogans in support of Okunor, expressed their dissatisfaction with what they deemed an unjust and politically motivated detention.

She was later released on Saturday. The police is yet to comment on why she was arrested.

But reacting to the development, Mr Asiedu Nketia stressed that, “We cannot go this way towards election 2024.”

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.

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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.

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.

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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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