Management of Radio Ada has expressed disappointment over the failure of the Ada Police to prosecute at least a dozen men who attacked the local radio station more than a year ago, assaulting journalists, holding clients hostage, and vandalizing studio equipment.
The station management says the police are yet to give an update on the investigation 15 months after a report of the attack was made despite a preponderance of evidence gathered.
“After all the evidence presented to them, they could not inform us whether they had invited some suspects mentioned in our police statement,” Programmes Producer at Radio Ada, Gideon Amanor Dzeagu, who was a victim of the attack, told The Fourth Estate.
The Deputy Coordinator of the Station, Noah Narh Dameh, said while the police were yet to invite the 12 suspects for questioning, he has been arraigned before a court, remanded and granted bail for a post he made on Facebook following the attack on the station.
The Station was attacked on January 13, 2022, after it had done a series of shows on the lease agreement of the Songhor Lagoon to Electrochem Ghana Limited, a salt-producing company owned by businessman Daniel McKorley.
About a dozen men assaulted two Radio Ada journalists, held two clients hostage, and vandalised equipment, warning the station to stop airing Manor Munyu programme, a local show that discusses the state of the salt mining industry in Ada.
Three days after the attack, the Ghana Police Service placed a bounty on the heads of suspects.
“We will do everything possible to find those thugs and deal with them according to the laws of this country. To this end, the Police Administration has placed an amount of Ten Thousand Ghana Cedis (GHC10,000.00) bounty as an informant reward for anyone who offers a piece of credible information leading to the arrest of the thugs who invaded and vandalised the Ada Radio station and assaulted the staff,” part of the statement signed by Superintendent of Police, Alexander Kwaku Obeng, Director of Public Affairs at the time said.
Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah also condemned the incident and said the attack was unacceptable, urging the Police to arrest the suspects.
“The Ministry condemns the reported attack and has asked the District Police Command to ensure that the culprits are sanctioned. There is no justification for a group of people to physically attack a radio station and its staff for comments made on air.”
The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) also condemned the attack. After that, it supported the station to replace damaged equipment, demanding immediate investigations and the prosecution of perpetrators.
The Ada District Police Commander, DSP Andreas Kordzo Mifetu, told Accra-based Joy FM a day after the incident that investigations had begun in earnest which will see to it that the perpetrators face the law.
“We will appeal to the people of Ada that the police will need their cooperation and their assistance in bringing closure to this. Because the incident happened in broad daylight and people might have seen them, they might have identified them. So, we are appealing to anyone with information about the identity of these people to contact the police for arrests to be made.”
Police have failed to act on Evidence
Deputy Coordinator of Radio Ada, Noah Dameh said although the station gave leads to help the police in the investigation, it did not yield much.
“Based on the intelligence they had [Police], they were aware of the attack on the radio station but failed to act. They arrested the key suspect [name withheld] and released him on the same day, failing to send him to court after they came to my workplace with guns and handcuffs looking for me to be killed but they did nothing. Yet, they are prosecuting me after they were told that I asked questions on Facebook about Daniel McKorley, so that I can be put into prison(sic). If you arrest a key suspect, won’t you question him about the other people he went to do the operation with or the people he organised it with?”
Assembly Member for Ajumanikopey Electoral Area in the Ada West District, Lawrence Katey Nunekpeku, who was himself held hostage during the attack cannot understand why the Police are unable to prosecute any of the attackers of Radio Ada.
“I will say the police have shown no interest in the issue for whatever reason best known to them. I personally reported to the police station at Big Ada to give my statement as one of the victims present at the station when the attack took place. They promised to get back to me but as we speak, no one has gotten back to me. I even called back to ask for an update and I was given assurance that the case was being investigated.”
The Fourth Estate heard voice recordings and saw WhatsApp messages which detailed how the attack on the radio station was planned. The assembly member said these were part of the evidence given to the police yet, not much was done with them.
According to him, the police have enough evidence to prosecute perpetrators, but their actions so far suggest that they have no interest in the issue.
“I don’t know what they will call enough evidence. But at the time I gave my statement, I was aware [the suspect] was arrested and bailed that night but after my statement, he was never invited for a response. I’ve also not had any call from any Police. For me, they just don’t want to work on the issue,” he told The Fourth Estate.
Mr. Nunekpeku said he would like to find out if the IGP is aware that his men in Ada are not protecting lives but serving the interest of the few with power.
“Should I meet the IGP today, I will let him know his men are not protecting lives and properties but rather serving the interest of one person against the people in Ada. And he must call them to investigate and finish all cases related to the Songhor Lagoon. I’m also calling on the IGP, as a security leader and the boss of the Police Service, to advise the central government to relook at the lease issued since that is the main course of insecurity in Ada.”
When The Fourth Estate phoned the Police Commander for the Ada District for an update on the matter, he said he will not speak on the matter.
National Media Commission
The Executive Secretary of the National Media Commission (NMC), George Sarpong, said the Commission will soon make a determination on the matter.
“We normally reframe from condemnations and others because the matter has come to you to adjudicate but my view is that we don’t accept attacks on journalists for whatsoever reasons,” he told The Fourth Estate.
He said the commission will roll out policies to bind the radio station and the residents of Ada together to prevent similar future unforeseen circumstances.
“Radio Ada has been a major development tool for the Ada community which shows the value of community radio So, we’re interested in counseling the station and the community to rebuild their relationship for future collaboration and engagement,” he said.
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