Prisons Sacks Journalists Over Mahama’s Visit

The Chief Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Ghana Prisons Service, DSP Vitalis Aiyeh, last Friday walked out some journalists in the Eastern Region who went to the Nsawam Medium Prisons with intent to cover the official working visit of President John Mahama.

Even the press corps that accompanied the Regional Minister, Antwi Boasiako-Sekyere, was not spared the action.

According to DSP Vitalis Aiyeh, his outfit received instruction from the National Security that no media houses should be allowed to enter the yard, except the presidential press corps, who were permitted to cover the event.

‘Please leave this place before things get out of hand because you are disturbing me. I haven’t invited you here, and besides, it’s only the presidential press corps that has been allowed to cover the event,” DSP Aiyeh stated as the dejected journalists exchanged words with him.

The stranded journalists managed to linger about for over four hours before President Mahama arrived and were only able to witness the parade inspection, as they were not allowed to enter the durbar grounds.

The Chief PRO, who could not bear the pressure from the disappointed journalists, in an angry mood, ordered some of the junior warders on duty to walk them out as the cameras of some of them were seized and pictures deleted from them.

Mark Annor-Dompreh, the Nsawam/Adoagyiri Municipal Chief Executive, was also approached by the journalists to intervene on their behalf, but the MCE refused to assist them.

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) deputy regional organiser, Hackman, before the arrival of the president, stormed the grounds with a Pick-up vehicle fully loaded with President Mahama-branded T-shirts, which were distributed to party supporters.

Mr. Mahama, who was upset about the poor conditions in the prisons, announced that government would make it a priority to improve prison facilities across the country for the sake of the inmates.

The improvement, he said, would include expansion of prisons accommodation facilities for decongestion and institute distance learning courses to absorb senior high school students.

Mr Mahama, who is the first sitting president to visit the facility, said in a 17-minute audio tape that ‘today is an eye opener for me…and we need to take action immediately to make them more comfortable as citizens of Ghana.’

The Chief Justice, Mrs. Georgina Wood, gave the assurance that her outfit would establish a court at Nsawam to reduce the daily burden of carrying suspects to Accra for trial.

FROM Daniel Bampoe, Nsawam

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