Scores of supporters of the opposition National Democratic Congress besieged the Kpetoe police station in the Agotime-Ziope district of the Volta region last night following the arrest and detention of some suspected 15 foreign nationals attempting to register in Ghana.
The suspects travelling from Ziope to Kpetoe onboard a Hyundai bus with registration number GR-3234-M were intercepted at about 2pm on Sunday 5 July 2020 by some members of the New Patriotic Party before being handed over to the District Police Command in Kpetoe.
The suspects who are between the ages of 60 years to 80 years include a visually impaired, 68-year-old man, Christian Agbeviade a resident of Hornugo, who is said to be a retired military officer and another physically challenged person.
Speaking to Starr Faisel Abdul-Iddrisu, some of the agitated protesters explained that the detainees are known Ghanaians resident in the constituency.
“The people in there are people we know and so, we feel this is an attack on us and so we are here to demand for their release,” Matilda, one of the protesters said.
Madam Alice Gorni also said, “Among us here are relatives of the suspects who have come to demand for the release of their people. It feels so sad that in our own land, people have the gut to question our nationality because of electrons.”
A 52-year-old Tina Adri Agbeve, also told our journalists that one of the suspects, the visually impaired old man is her uncle, whom she had come to join the protest in demand of his release.
The scenes at the Kpetoe police turned a bit dramatic when the protesters began chanting war songs and pelting the officers while asking for the immediate release of the suspects amidst curses upon the NPP and the police.
Speaking to the media, MP for Agotime-Ziope, Charles Agbeve said the arrest of these persons was unfortunate and uncalled for while adding that the suspects are natives of his hometown -Hornugo, a suburb of Ziope.
He explained that the suspects were being transported to the District EC office in Kpetoe to take part in the registration exercise since they are old and vulnerable.
He said, “As you all know, the EC offices are supposed to register the aged, the disabled, lactating mothers and pregnant women and as a Constituency, we decided to aid the aged so they can get the card and not go through the hustle by the time it gets to their pollen stations. Number two, most of them do not have Ghana card so we also saw that it was a strategic way to get people from those areas to get the ID cards, so that by the time the registration gets to their end, they will in turn guarantee for those without the Ghana cards.
“So these are my own uncles and cousins who I have decided to help by organizing a bus to convey them to Kpetoe for the registration. Today in Ghana, I don’t know that people being carried in a car can be called Togolese to be brought to a police station to be intimidated and be harassed. I do not think it fair, reasonable and in my opinion, it’s unfortunate abd uncalled for,” he emphasised.
When the suspects were finally granted bail, our checks revealed that majority of them have either the Ghana card or a passport which are primary documents for the registration exercise.
The driver of the Hundai bus, Kofi Gatsi -a native of Ziope recounted the incident.
“I was only contracted to pick these people from Ziope to Kpetoe to take part in the registration exercise. They are not people I picked from Togo; these people, some of whom I know personally from Hornugo.
“Upon entering the town, I drove straight towards my brother’s home to pick a car part I had bought so I could head to Ho for repair works after offloading my passengers but I was intercepted by some NPP guys who accused me of carrying Togolese and upon several exchanges, the police commander arrived at the scene and asked I drive the car to the police where we have been put the counter back,” he told journalists.
Mr. George Loh, a legal team member and a Regional Vice Chairman of the NDC expressed shock and anger over what he called “a humiliation of our own”.
Mr. Loh, however, told journalists that the police did not proffer any charges against all 15 persons before granting them bail but have demanded that they report to the police station again, today Monday 6 July, 2020.
While the second phase of the nationwide registration exercise begins today, the Volta region would remain a battle ground for the two major political parties ahead of the 2020 general elections.