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COVID-19: NGOs urge Gov’t to warn Security Agencies against brutalities

Some five Non-Governmental Organisations in Ghana have expressed serious displeasure at the unprofessional manner some military and police personnel deployed for enforcement of the ongoing partial lockdown are abusing some civilians.

After two days of monitoring and assessing the 14 days partial lockdown declared by the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the NGOs say there is the urgent need for the Government to call the security operatives to order and stop them from brutalizing citizens including women and children.

According to the NGOs, “COVID-19 has not taken away the fundamental human rights of vulnerable citizens so their rights should be respected as such”.

The five NGOs, Global Coalition Against Infectious Diseases, Global Media Foundation, World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) Business Coalition Ghana, Indigenous Women Empowerment Network and Citizen Watch Ghana, therefore urged the Government to withdraw all those security personnel captured in the various videos brutalizing vulnerable citizens and punish them accordingly.

At a Press Conference in Accra today, the spokesperson for the aggrieved NGOs, who is also the National Coordinator of the World Evangelical Alliance Business Coalition Ghana, Mr Raphael Godlove Ahenu urged President Akufo-Addo to remind the security personnel that they are resourced by the state and other private entities to protect the citizens from being destroyed by the coronavirus but not rather be the ones to destroy the people.

“We have several videos on social media about security brutalizing citizens in Accra, Kasoa, Kumasi and Tema and we, therefore, condemn these actions by the security agencies”.

Mr Ahenu also condemned the statement made by the Commanding Officer of the Southern Command of the Ghana Armed Forces, Brigadier General Abraham Yeboah Nsiah on CitiNews denying claims that soldiers deployed to assist in enforcing the lockdown in Accra, Kasoa, Kumasi and Tema had been brutalizing some civilians.

He said instead of calling on the men to order, Brigadier General Yeboah Nsiah was rather defending the security agencies. The NGOs urged the Minister for Defence to investigate the matter in order to bring the offenders to book.

Mr Ahenu who on the other hand called on the citizens to obey the directives of the President through the lockdown period, said the NGOs envisaged already that the enforcement of the lockdown will face some challenges since the Government failed to make provision to support the poor and vulnerable before locking down the cities.

Meanwhile, Ghana is observing two weeks of partial lockdown of the major cities such as Accra, Kumasi, Tema and Kasoa following the outbreak of the COVID-19. The country has recorded a total number of 195 confirmed cases and five death as at 1st April 2020.