After a Tamale-bound passenger vehicle was reported to have been attacked by armed-robbers and the passengers robbed of all their valuables and also subjected to mass rape and defilements among other things, the victims took the unpleasant decision according to an eye witness one Amina Mohammed that, they were to keep quiet and pretend as if nothing happened at all over the incidence!

Their reason being that, they were traumatized, humiliated, heavily embarrassed by what happened and above all feared that, society would stigmatize them should they openly narrate their story.

However, Amina Mohammed one of the passengers on the vehicle in question thought she needed to breach the earlier decision taken to keep what happened away from the public discourse and therefore went public with what happened. She gave an interview to the media during which she narrated how male passengers were made to rape female passengers including even how a father was made to break the virginity of his own daughter after they were robbed of all their valuables!

Ghanaians were so alarmed that something like this could happen in Ghana. Some started asking questions about where the Police were when all these happened. The President, it was reported got “mad” of what happened and immediately summoned his security chiefs to the seat of government to discuss the issue.

Immediately after the meeting, the presidency met journalists and told them that, what was reported according to “thorough investigations” by the police was nothing but a hoax. The Police also granted series of interviews to the media and confirmed what the presidency said: “The mass rape report was nothing but a hoax” The police claim that their in-depth investigations did not uncover such a thing.

Then the issue shifted from the initial national sympathy to political sympathies with the National Democratic Congress (NDC) alleging that, its detractors wanted to give Ghana a bad name and promised to deal with who so ever was behind the hoax!

I must say that, I was hugely disappointed that, the Police could use less than 12hours after Amina’s interview with the media to conduct what it claimed were but “thorough investigations”. The fact is that not even the Mi6 or the FBI could conduct such investigations of huge proportions in less than 12 hours! To me the police’s claim was but a huge fairytale! So I asked: “thorough investigations”? “What thorough investigations”?

Investigations has lots of ingredients and processes and celebrated investigators in Ghana like OGA Anass will agree with me that, investigations of whatever sort usually have what is known as the “life span of the investigations” 12 hours for “thorough investigations” No Sir Ghana Police!

There is what is known as situation report aka “Sitrep” and investigations- the police in all cases could have situation reports within hours of an incidence BUT that can NEVER be clothed as “thorough investigations” There is indeed everything different between a hurriedly prepared situation report to brief the president about an occurrence and “thorough investigations”- on this occasion it was situation report that the police presented to the president not thorough investigations!

Dear readers, in one of the interviews with Amina the eye witness- the journalist spoke of him seeing the ticket of Amina Mohammed and a date on it. So the police needed to team up with the journalists or the various media houses that interviewed Amina to commence real thorough investigations into the claim especially so as the victims out of the embarrassment caused them pledged not to tell anybody what happened until Amina lifted the lid!

With the dated ticket that the journalists reported they saw, the police could conduct investigations in to the following:

What time the vehicle left Accra? What type of vehicle it was, registration number of the vehicle, name of the driver and even owner, anticipated arrival time in Tamale and if the vehicle did arrive in Tamale, what time it arrived?

The police also needed to investigate: how many passengers were on the vehicle, where the claimed rape took place and why the victims decided that, inspite of what happened to them they still preferred anonymity to going public! Was the decision the victims took came out of mistrust or fear of the police and what could be done to encourage victims to go to the police no matter what!

There are lots of questions that the police could investigate both for this particular claim- whether it is true or false and for policing and safety of citizens in future. That is why the initial dismissive posture of the Police even before they spoke to Amina -the eye witness was alarming and deeply unprofessional!

We all appreciate the difficulty within which the police work. We value their resolve to provide us with security to go about with our daily activities without much “fear” It becomes however troubling, when only after less than 3hours meeting with the president, they begin to talk to the media about how a case they have not even yet investigated is already a hoax! When they do that they definitely make their own work very difficult and make observers to wonder if that statement the police issued after their meeting with the president was not issued after taking fresh coffee at the Castle with the president!

The police must try to desist from making statements that will even drive away witnesses. For instance if the police’s stand is that what happened was a hoax, do they think witnesses will be happy to co-operate with them should they decide to move away from the situation report to thorough investigations?

As of 30th October 2010, the latest report in the media was that, the police had arrested or invited Amina Mohammed to assist them investigate what they already claimed was a hoax after “thorough investigations” So what investigations again Ghana Police?

The invitation or arrest of Amina to help the police to now investigate the hoax is just a very clear example of topsy-turvy investigations. That is: you shot down the veracity of the claims even before investigations- not the other way round. I am from Tamale and definitely have an enormous interest in this case. I am highly anxious to hear what will now come out of these investigations.

I must say I was excessively disappointed that, no MP from Northern region in general and Tamale in particular called for thorough investigations into Amina’s claim even though the vehicle was said to be going to Tamale when the robbery occurred. What happened is just but a clear example of what can happen to a disunited Dagbon.

The Police took the shortcut of discrediting the story out-rightly even before they spoke to Amina and the politicians also politicized it rather than standing with the people of Tamale to call for in-depth investigations knowing the political complexities of the area versus which chieftaincy gate supports which political party.

My brothers and sisters in Tamale, we need a better explanation and fuller investigations about what actually happened on the night of the said mass rape incidence than what we are being told. Let us come together as one to tell the police that even if the case was a hoax, the speed with which they “investigated” Amina Mohammed’s claims and the conclusions that came out of it were too ‘confusing’ for our understanding! A stitch in time it is said saves nine.


Credit: Akilu Sayibu UK