General News of Wednesday, 7 March 2018
The Northern Regional Executive Council of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has expressed concerns over the breakdown of security in the region.
The party, at a press conference held in Tamale on Monday, March 5, 2018, cited the recent spate of armed robbery attacks on filling stations in the region which claimed the lives of four persons and last Saturday’s burning down of 14 tipper trucks and an excavator by some personnel of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) at Afa Yilli, near Dalun in the Kumbungu District, for being used to engage in illegal sand-winning activities as examples.
The press conference, which was addressed by the Regional Secretary of the party, Mr Halid Abdul-Rauf, described last Saturday’s incident as unfortunate and called for an independent investigation into the matter.
The party also called on the Northern Regional Minister, Mr Salifu Saeed, who is also the Chairman of the Regional Security Council (REGSEC), to step down for exercising wrong judgement and indiscretion over the matter.
Tipper truck drivers and owners
The party, however, called on the Tipper Truck Drivers’ Union and owners to exercise the maximum restraint and use due process in seeking redress from the law courts.
“Our message to our hardworking members of the Tipper Truck Union who are part of nation building is that we stand by them in these trying moments and urge them to exercise maximum restraint in these difficult times, and admonish them to use due process in seeking redress from the law courts,” the party stated.
The party noted that considering the volatile nature of the security situation in the region, the regional minister should not have given such a directive to the security forces to take away the economic livelihood of innocent owners of the tipper trucks unless he had evidence to the contrary that at the time of the operation, either the drivers were armed or had revisited a lawful arrest by the security forces that warranted the use of that disproportionate and brutal force.
The party, in its statement, further described the incident as unacceptable and bizarre, claiming that their painstaking investigation into the matter revealed that the burning of the tipper trucks and the excavator occurred at a distance of about two kilometres away from the installation of the Ghana Water Company, a location which according to the tipper truck drivers was designated by the REGSEC somewhere in December last year on a fact-finding mission.
“Be as it may, inasmuch as the Northern Regional Executive Committee will not condone any form of lawlessness, the lawlessness in which the livelihood of the owners of the tipper trucks, the drivers, the drivers’ assistants and their dependents is destroyed without recourse to the rule of law has come as a matter of serious concern to us as major political players in the region which happens to be one of the poverty-stricken regions,” the party stated.
The party noted that the Northern Regional Minister, in consonance with Operation Vanguard, would have done themselves and the owners of the tipper trucks a great service if they had addressed themselves with sections 99 (5) and 96(2) (3)(4) of the Mining Act, Act 900 which spells out how that unfortunate situation could have been handled.
“The regional minister’s only justification for what he has done is to tell Ghanaians that the drivers of the burnt tipper trucks refused to heed warnings of REGSEC; but what about the innocent owners who at the time of this act did not even know where their trucks were, only to be splashed with this sad news that the only investment of theirs that they took facilities from the banks with killer interests had been burnt down?” the party questioned.