Member of Parliament for the North Tongu Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has praised government for its decision to compensate families of some seven persons who were killed by Police personnel at Manso-Nkwanta in the Ashanti Region.Though he said it was unfortunate that the families of the deceased have had to go through such loss, the compensation announced by government is the best way to appease them.
Mr. Ablakwa said this Tuesday when he appeared on TV3 New Day, a day after a government investigation team released its report, which concluded the deceased were not armed robbers as purported by the Police.
“It is important that we appease families. No matter what happens, we cannot bring these lives back, which is why I commend government for the promise of compensation. We do not know what the sums are, but it is a good effort,” the MP told New Day co-host, Johnnie Hughes.
In July this year, some police personnel shot and killed seven residents of Asewase at Manso-Nkwanta, who the police claimed were armed robbers.
Their killing led to agitations among families of the deceased as well as residents of Manso-Nkwanta who rejected the police claim.
Government was pushed to set up a five-member Committee to investigate what led to the killing of the seven, following violent protest at Asewase.
Findings from the Committee’s report as stated by Government, found no proof to conclude the deceased were indeed armed robbers.
Consequently, government directed that some 21 police personnel involved in the incident be interdicted while a service inquiry is instituted into their conduct in the case.
Also, it indicated the dependents and families of the deceased will be compensated by government.
This move, Mr. Ablakwa said is in the right direction.
He said the findings of the Committee affirms reports from residents that the deceased were innocent, and not robbers as purported.
“All of these accounts are a vindication of their parents, the community leaders, the Imam, the MP for the area.”
“They have all attested to the fact that they knew these young men; they are very decent young men, very sober law abiding and that they were not armed robbers and now government report vindicates that position.”
Prosecute the ‘killers’
Mr. Ablakwa who is also the Ranking Member on Foreign Affairs, said government must also ensure that those involved in the killing were prosecuted.
“We need to know what happens after interdiction…we must set the right deterrent so that people believe that all lives matter.
“I agree with the school of thought that we need an Independent Police Commission, it gives confidence to the general public,” he added.
He further commended the leadership of Manso Nkwanta for ensuring that residents kept calm although they were agitated over the deaths.
“I must also commend the community leaders and religious leaders for the way they managed tensions, and for telling the youth to be calm not to engage in reprisal attacks. Tensions were really high and justifiably so,” he said
Mr. Ablakwa also said the issue of unprofessionalism on the part of some Police personnel ought to be dealt with, to prevent further incident of killing of innocent civilians.
“There are larger issues that this raises. We have to pay attention to Police training, recruitment process, the screening, as well as eliminating these prejudices,” the MP stated.