Posted: Monday 24th February 2014 at 16:30 pm

University Of Ghana To Sue Col. Gbevlo-Lartey Over Toll Booth Demolition?

I have read a purported statement from the Academic Board of the University of Ghana, on the matter of the National Security demolition of the controversial tollbooth that was being erected by the authorities of the University of Ghana, Legon, at Okponglo which is aimed at collecting road tolls from motorists traversing the university campus.

Not only am I stunned by the University’s overt display of institutional ineptitude and professional anomie, I lament over the untenable rationalization of theft at the nation’s premier university.

The statement among other things claims that the Academic Board of the university has resorted to take legal action against the National Security Coordinator Rtd Colonel Larry Gbevlo-Lartey and his team for unlawfully demolishing a toll booth and security post on the university premises.

“The Academic Board has observed that the perpetrators of the above act entered University of Ghana property without permission from the University, contrary to the University of Ghana Act 2010, Act 806.

“The Academic Board considers the actions of the National Security Coordinator and his team arbitrary, unconstitutional and unlawful, and a direct attack on academic freedom and national democracy,” the statement said.

I just can’t believe what I am reading. That, the Academic Board of the university has directed the management to sue National Security citing university of Ghana Act?

Reading about the reason of suing the National Security even tells you that we have wrong people at the helm of affairs at Legon.

So the academic board seriously thinks that the University of Ghana Act overrides the national interest? Is the university questioning the powers of the National Security Council? Is the university not operating under the territorial lands of Ghana, which national security has a mandate to protect?

And since when did the academic board swap position with the governing board of the university? To the extent that they are directing management to institute legal action against the National Security Council for removing a threat aimed at disrupting public peace.

How sad it is that those who have committed an offence by mounting illegal structures on public roads and extorting money from motorists wants to sue the primary/legal enforcer of the law for carrying out its legitimate duty?

But, who told them that a purely illegal acts like unilateral decision to toll the university road without consulting other stakeholders is legal opinion and can be enforced in any civilized court of legal jurisdiction?

How serious are the administrators of the University of Ghana that they seemed hallucinated enough to be thinking that no law governs them in Ghana, and that they are a law unto themselves? And how come they have rather ironically, become non-academic enough to think that the University of Ghana Act is superior to the national constitution which gives a clear mandate to national security to intervene in any situation that could lead to breakdown of law and order or create disaffection for both government and the majority of the citizens?

Do the Legon authorities really understand the mandate of the National Security Council? Are they aware that the NSC can even close down the entire University of Ghana if they have a cause to believe that certain actions of the university has a capacity to threaten the security of the state?

National security has argued that the proximity of the toll booth to a major highway is a public nuisance, and that it was interfering with vehicular traffic going to and fro Madina and beyond. How the school authorities erect toll booth right in front of such a major busy road like the Madina-Tetteh Quashie highway that leads traffic into Accra beats my imagination.

National Security carried out the demolition action in the national interest. It is a fact that the toll booth was wrongly sited and that it was creating public nuisance. We don’t need another major disaster to confirm that the toll booth was indeed a public nuisance. In any event, who is in a position to determine what constitutes a national security threat? Is it the university authorities, or the state security?

If such horrible vehicular traffic build up in the mornings and evenings on that stretch of the road which affects thousands of students and motorist, as well as the numerous accidents that have claimed dozens of lives doesn’t constitute a threat to national security, then we have a serious problem as a people.

I think those professors on the academic board should concern themselves with writing of books, Journals, and go into research findings that can contribute to national development.

Their law suit against National Security will just be an exercise in futility.

The National Security Coordinator was purely reacting to intelligence reports of the university authorities citing a toll booth at an inappropriate location, and causing public nuisance which if not removed has a capacity to threaten public peace. Those un-informed university administrators calling for legal action to be taken against the national security capo for carrying out his constitutional mandate are just living in a fool’s paradise.

In any case, when the same National Security under its human security intervention programme swiftly responded to the water crisis on Legon campus by providing six boreholes to ameliorate the suffering of the university community, did the academic board complain of arbitrariness? Or, those boreholes were provided under court order?

Are the university authorities telling us that they are well versed in security matters more than those whose competence it is to detect threat to national security?

These things just make you mad that you want to bite off your own head in exasperation.

It is sheer pity that a whole university should be run like a petty road side business where there is no constructive use of intellectual faculties by its administrators to generate funds. Or is it because the brains there cannot find any market place for the research works they claim to be undertaking? And if this is the case, is there any wonder why the university is producing substandard scholars?

Elswhere in the world where university authorities are serious enough, revenue is generated through research works. They do this by practically collaborating with industry to design and develop almost everything a human can use. They do not rely on ordinary tolling to fund their activities.

A university must academically be innovative enough to recognize the abundance of opportunities within the campuses, through industry related commercial research and inventions as a way of augmenting what the poor tax payer gives them through government subventions and not the cheap method of road tolling, and yet be shamelessly resorting to legal suits against state security, We have a huge problem on our hands in Ghana.

I would rather commend National Security for that singular action. It was timely. It has also brought home the fact that the wanton arbitrariness of the Legon authorities which is akin to that of a spoilt child can no longer be tolerated.

So much for rule of law.

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