On Sunday 5 May 2019, Sergeant Abdul Yakubu Mahama of the Police SWAT Unit came within a hair’s breadth of losing his life when he attempted to effect a lawful arrest. In broad daylight, off the main road in Krokohwe, a suburb of Amasaman in the Ga West Municipal district of Greater Accra, he was hit with sticks and stones, slapped, punched and kicked. As he sprawled on the ground, one of the assailants tried to strangle him. Luckily, two elderly women bravely intervened to save his life.
What happened to Sgt. Mahama is not an isolated case as there have been a spate of attacks on Police officers recently. This week, Ghana Police Watch TV Series takes an in - depth look at this worrying trend since an attack on our law enforcement officers is also an attack on the state as well as the cardinal principles that underpin law and order and national security.
The discussion segment of the programme is lively and insightful as the guests make recommendations to arrest the trend. Israel Laryea, one of Ghana’s leading journalists is the host and is joined by Chief Superintendent Benjamin Osei Addae of the Ghana Police Service Legal & Prosecution Department and Dr Justice Tankebe, Criminologist at Cambridge University, UK. Dr Justice Tankebe makes the point that the legitimacy of the Police is critical to our democracy and urges more public education to win the hearts and minds of the people.
The programme shows dramatic snippets of the assault video that went viral on social media. There are heart-wrenching moments as Sgt Mahama is subjected to severe beatings from a mob of over 20 attackers who clearly wanted to kill him for doing what he is legitimately empowered by the state to do on behalf of all of us.
Ghana Police Watch shows exceptional footage as Sgt Mahama narrates his ordeal at the spot he was assaulted and meets the women who saved his life for the first time after the fateful incidence. He cannot hold back his tears. There are beautiful aerial shots of Amasaman, the fast-growing outer suburb of Accra which shows why land is important here and land matters even critically so. Many land disputes are unresolved and more are being added every day.
The Amasaman District Commander, Superintendent Frederick Mensah, makes an authoritative contribution to the discussion. He was one of the first people to see Sgt Mahama with his bloodied, swollen face and dirtied uniform as he ‘miraculously’ escaped from the mob to make a report at the Amasaman Police Station.
Supt. Mensah explains what he describes as ‘land-guardism’ in sections of Amasaman and the menace of land guards. He firmly states that as per the laws of the Ghana, nobody has the right to subject anybody to beatings, no matter the alleged offence or circumstances.
Another interesting part of the programme is the discussion between senior police officers and the Krokohwe community over the assault of Sgt Mahama. The level of insecurity felt by the community is high and there is a suggestion that a police station must be sited in Amasaman. Familiarity and use of Police Emergency numbers was also recommended to ensure rapid police response to crime. It is also clear that the community needs a neighborhood watch committee.
This week’s edition of Ghana Police Watch, which is now Ghana’s most watched current affairs programme showing on multiple TV stations makes important recommendations to stop the attacks on law enforcement officers which is a threat to law and order and Ghana’s internal security.