KNUST riots, brutalities expected; signs were ignored – Leaked report
Information available to GhanaWeb suggests that the recent chaos and riots that shook the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology was a ‘long time coming’.
This was identified in a research which had been earlier conducted by some students of the school for academic purposes, with recommendations made to find lasting solutions.
The research titled "KNUST security service and the students: A strained relationship”, highlighted how students had been affected severally; physically and psychologically by abuse and torture, meted out to them by security personnel on campus. It also underlined, among other things, that KNUST ‘does not take security as serious as they should’.
The student researchers, through personal interviews with students of the school, witnesses, Heads of Security of the school, an officer of the Ghana Police Service, judges and lecturers of the Faculty of Law, compiled responses.
According to information contained in the research, ‘students had become victims of abuse in the hands of these campus security personnel’.
“Over the years, some members of the group have had friends who have been victims of this abuse in the hands of the security service personnel of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST)”.
“Students are abused (assault and battery) during arrest, even when students submit to their authority. Students are also detained on unreasonable grounds and for unreasonable time periods and even during detention some students are beaten and tortured into giving information about crimes they know nothing about”.
“In the interviews we conducted, it is safe to say that if it was not out of a stroke of luck that a person detained, was identified by someone at the charge office, the detained person could have been detained for a longer period. In some of the interviews,(audio 1-marshall,audio4-Repu Victim and “Sir Law”), victims were abused during arrest, tortured with the aim of getting them to confess to crimes they did not commit and detained for an unreasonable period of time. Aside the abuse meted out on students during the arrest by the KNUST security service, students are also detained for unreasonable time periods and on unreasonable grounds”, portions of the document reads.
Though it acknowledged that ignorance of the rules and laws of the school and apathy on the part of students led to their reluctance to report and address such issues when they occurred, the research also noted that recruitment of ‘unqualified’ and ‘unprofessional’ security men by management of the school as well as lack of discipline on the part of these employed security men were major causes of the overwrought relationship between security personnel and students.
“According to various interviews with victims, witnesses and students, apart from offences expressly stated in the Students’ Guide, most actions or omissions regarded as offences by the KNUST campus security are not known by students. With offences expressly stated in the students’ handbook, students can be blamed for being ignorant of the law. About 65% of the student populace have not read the Students’ Guide. This is due to students’ reluctance to read the students’ guide and that is no excuse as demonstrated in the Latin maxim Ignorantia juris non excusat. However, there are some offences that have not been made known to students for which they are arrested for and detained”.
“The first cause of the strained relationship is that the recruitment problem adopted by his predecessors was very poor, such that there are certain employed personnel who are not qualified to be security, due to their lack of education or low educational level. Some of these employed security personnel do not appreciate the roles and the limitation of a security man and tend to behave unprofessionally”.
“The second cause is the employment of “casual security men” due to the government embargo on employment into public institutions. These security personnel are termed as casual security men because they are employed on temporary basis, six months’ time period. This is as result of the demand for more security personnel who cannot be provided for due to the government embargo on employment of such personnel. The security personnel employed are usually untrained and do not meet the standard required of an adequate security man”. The third cause is the lack of discipline on the part of security men” the document stated.
Recommendations by the group among other things, included the implementation of an effective recruitment process, phasing out casual security workers, implementation of an effective disciplinary process, taking security issues seriously.
“It can be said that to a large extent, KNUST does not take security as serious as they should. The Deputy Head of the Campus Security, made it known to the group that the security service is not funded adequately and that lack of funding has caused a lot of problems. Some of these problems are that the personnel are not adequately trained and that the security service cannot be educated properly as such training programmes cannot be held. Security is a very important feature of every society and KNUST should realise this”, the document further revealed.