Ghanaian jailed in Togo for ‘theft’; family alleges intimidation over land, demands gov’t intervention
Some police officers from the Republic of Togo have apprehended a 40-year-old Ghanaian man for allegedly stealing cola nut.
Amexo Kwaku Prosper, who is a cash crop farmer in Kpoeta Achem within the Ho West District in the Volta Region, went missing in the last days of November 2018.
According to the head of the Amexo family, Mr. Geshorn Amexo, the farmer, Amexo Kwaku Prosper, had gone to "his own farm" in Kpoeta Zianu, a neighbouring community to the Republic of Togo on the 30th November, but had not returned home, until the local folks went in search of him but could not find him.
A day after he had gone missing, the Chief of Kpoeta Togbe Gadzi VIII received a letter from the Chief of Hanyigba Todzi in the Republic of Togo informing him that the farmer is in the custody of the police in Togo.
The Chief of Kpoeta Togbe Gadzi VIII then informed the Amexo family about the letter sent from Togo.
The Chief upon receiving the sad news sent his delegation to the Hanyigba Todzi Chief to have a fair idea of the detention of the Ghanaian native.
According to Mr. Gershon, the Togolese counterpart told the delegation that they caught Amexo Prosper "plucking cola nut” on a farm that falls within the Republic of Togo. They said they had sent him to the Kpalime District Police Station within Togo.
The family of Amexo in Ghana said they've made efforts to bail their son but the Togolese refused to grant him bail.
Mr. Michael Amexo, who speaks on the behalf of the family said, more than a week after being in communication with the Togolese to release the suspect, they were told by the Togolese Police that the suspect was found guilty and has been sentenced to jail in Kloto Central Prisons in Agogome within the Republic of Togo.
According to him, Amexo Prosper was imprisoned without trial, and the family has no knowledge about the said prison because they were being denied access to their son.
He said "the first and last time that we saw my brother he cannot even speak, we knew he didn't steal anything they (the Togolese police) pressured him to say he did. I'm sure that they tortured him; he looks very skinny, my brother is dying for no reason" Mr. Michael Amexo bemoaned.
Land dispute between two communities
Meanwhile, the family revealed that, there is a land dispute between the people of Kpoeta of Ghana and the people of Hanyigba Todzi in the Republic of Togo.
They said, the “Azianu farm land" falls in between Kpoeta and Hanyigba Todzi, and these two communities have been fighting over ownership of the land for decades, but over the past few years, litigations concerning the land have reduced until the arrest of their son recently.
Mr. Michael Amexo said the family is much aware that the detention of their son is a way to intimidate them to give up the disputed land.
He stressed that, " it’s because of the land issue, but they've cooked that false story that he was stealing cola nut, cola nut for what, can you imagine?”
He added that, "It’s not only my family but the entire Kpoeta people do farm on that land, including them (the Togolese), at the other side, but we even have much dominion over that land than Hanyigba Todzi people do. It’s not about any cola nut, it’s because of the land but they shouldn't treat him like that".
Involvement of Ghanaian police
The Amexo family didn't hesitate in reporting the matter to the Ghana police.
However, the Kpedze Police when contacted could not offer any satisfactory response.
The family has thus petitioned the District Chief Executive (DCE) of Ho West, Ernest Apau, to help bring the victim home.
The DCE in an interview said “it is a process and we are working on it, so it's not like we have neglected the case" he noted.
Mr. Ernest Apau said a delegation will in the next week visit their Togolese counterpart to have dialogue on the development.
Meanwhile, the Amexo family are not happy with how the Police and the DCE have handled the case so far, and are not hopeful if their son would be released by the Togolese officials.
The family has thus called on Ghana’s Ambassador to Togo and the security agencies to help bring their "innocent brother", urging them to discard the theft allegations by the Togolese officials, saying "the cola nut story is not the real source of the arrest”.