General News of Monday, 23 January 2017
Mr Dominic Aduna Bingab Nitiwul, Minister of Defence Designate, has said President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, then opposition leader, last year did not want to invite trouble for Ghanaians on the matter involving the two Guantanamo Bay detainees.
The NPP then in opposition, had raised issues about Government position to keep the two in Ghana, blasting the then Mahama Administration for allowing them into the country as they presence threatened the security of the state.
“Ghanaian people may well have been spared the disquieting anxiety, in this time of justifiably heightened fear of global terrorism, that we are being led by a President who, ostensibly in the name of compassion, prefers to ignore laws designed to defend the most sensitive area of all, our nation’s security,” Nana Addo had said.
However, the nominee, a management consultant, family man, believer in the Catholic faith, and Member of Parliament for Bimbila, who turns 40 next November 4, told the Appointments Committee of Parliament, before which he appeared for vetting, that Nana Akufo Addo took that position so as not to invite trouble for Ghana and put herself on the terrorist map in that particular period.
“If you have a very peaceful country, what many people would not want to do is to invite trouble to themselves and that’s why I think that at the time his Excellency the President Nana Addo Akufo Addo made that statement, he made it in the light that there was no need to invite trouble for us to put ourselves on the terrorist map in that particular period when Ghana didn’t need to do that.
Mr Nitiwul said government would consider a number of factors, including intelligence on the ground before making a definite decision on the two.
He said: “We have done one year now, intelligence will change, the situation will change. As we sit today, the government at that time analysed intelligence and took a decision. It is the same way this government is going to analyse all the intelligence related to this particular people and take a decision.
“As I sit now, intelligence will lead us as to the best way the government will take the decision regarding this particular thing.”
This was after he was asked by the Appointments Committee if he would advise President Akufo-Addo to return the two Yemenis as demanded prior to his election as the President of Ghana.
The nominee indicated to the committee that the matter was sub judice and was therefore constrained to answer, but however tried to give what he called a skeletal response as he explained he was not privy to the latest intelligence.
Consequently, he indicated that would not be in a position to offer advice to the president regarding the best decision for the government to take on the matter.
“As I sit now, I’m not ceased with that intelligence to be able to tell you which way I will advise the president or not advice the president but intelligent will lead us as to the best way the government to take a decision regarding this thing,” he stated.
On the situation in Gambia following its presidential election brouhaha, Mr Nitiwul announced that the Government of Ghana is ready to evacuate her citizens from in any worst-case scenario.
He said the Ghana Armed Forces has put all the necessary measures in place to evacuate 50,000 Ghanaians most of whom are fisher folks, either by air or sea to their homeland.
“Government has put in place the necessary measures to evacuate Ghanaians,” the Minister of Defence Designate said.
He added: “I’m not … able to tell you publicly the steps that are being taken to evacuate our civilians but I can say for a fact that enough preparations have been made to ensure that in the event that we need to evacuate any Ghanaian, we will do that.”
Prior to committing 205 combat Ghanaian soldiers to the ECOWAS troops to help oust Jammeh from power and also ensure a peaceful environment in the Gambia, the Government of Ghana came under severe fire for not prioritising evacuation of its citizens in the wake of the Gambian political crisis.
Thousands of Gambians have fled their home country owing to Jammeh’s refusal to cede political power.