National Security Detain TV Africa Crew

Mr. Kabral Blay Amihere, Chairman NMC

Mr. Kabral Blay Amihere, Chairman NMC



A TV Africa crew assigned to cover the aftermath of the Adjei Kojo demolition, especially when the internally displaced persons suffered a heavy downpour, was subjected to maltreatment on the orders of two retired Colonels of the military.

Not only were the crew detained for two hours, their equipment were seized and released when the retired officers decided they had inflicted punishment on the media persons.

The unnecessary maltreatment was interestingly justified by retired Colonels Ahadzie and EWK Nibo, who said it could have been worse.

The latter was the immediate-past Director of the Public Relations Directorate of the Ghana Armed Forces now cooling it off at the National Security Council’s Human Security Department with other retired officers.

A.C. Ohene, Head of News & Current Affairs, who has lodged a complaint to the Chairman of the National Media Commission (NMC), in a correspondence copied to the Minister of Information & Media Relations, said the Col. Ahadzie-led harassment began when a television news crew was sent to scout for audiovisuals from the impact that a downpour on Independence Day had caused the victims of the demolition.

Management, the correspondence said, received a distress call from the crew that it was being held by a National Security team, which had pitched camp near the demolition site.

The crew was made up of Yaa Hammond, Kingsley Acheampong, camera, Suleiman Awudu, Sound and  Douglas Kofi Benyin, driver.

According to Yaa Hammond, a soldier and policeman arrested them when they were taking shots of the place and marched them to an outpost where some 50 police and military personnel were camping.

Their camera was seized and they were ordered to remove their socks and surrender their cellphones and watches. They were also subjected to an invasive body search according to Mr. Ohene, who added that ‘the national security operatives next detained the news team for two hours before releasing them.’

‘A colonel, who led the harassment, by name Kofi Ahadzie, later called Yaa Hammond on phone to come for the camera at 1pm prompt on Monday, March 10,’ he said.

Mr. Ohene led a team to go for the camera and to seek explanation for the harassment. The retired Colonels said they were prepared to return the camera provided they did not carry any audiovisuals that could be used for negative stories against them.

The operatives said their permission should have been sought before the filming of the site, Mr. Ohene pointed out.

When TV Africa said they deserved an apology from National Security, the retired Colonels said they rather deserved an apology from the station.

Col. Ahadzie (rtd) is reported to have told TV Africa that ‘the treatment meted out to the crew was normal treatment his organization subjects everybody it suspects to and that the searches and interrogation could have been ‘worse’ or ‘deeper.’

Members of the TV Africa crew, which realized that it could not make any headway in the argument with the retired Colonels, picked their cameras and left for their base.

 
By A.R. Gomda

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