Report about some policemen assaulting some Immigration officers last Wednesday in Accra cannot be allowed to go without comment.
In the recent past, personnel of our security agencies had had altercations among themselves that had tended to compromise the peace and security of the country.
The Daily Graphic would not want to open old wounds, but we note the clash between soldiers and policemen in the Northern Regional capital of Tamale last May and the near bloodbath that was averted when some personnel of the Ghana Armed Forces and some policemen had a confrontation over a military uniform in the Upper West Region in March this year.
Last Wednesday’s incident was said to have occurred when some armed policemen from the Odorkor Police Command reportedly attacked and bullied four Immigration officers to seize four suspected immigration offenders who were being taken to the Immigration Headquarters.
But, according to DSP Afia Tenge of the Accra Police Public Relations, the police responded to a distress call about some people in military uniform who were terrorising residents and that when the police caught up with the Immigration officers, they were unwilling to disclose their identity, which led to the ‘clash’ between the personnel from the two sister security agencies.
As it is now, both spokespersons for the two security agencies have their word against the other.
But the Daily Graphic can reason that per the narratives of the police and the Immigration Service, there are wide gaps in explanation that need to be filled to convince Ghanaians about what really transpired.
Why did the police want the Immigration officers to identify themselves when, per the police spokeswoman’s explanation, at least two of the Immigration officials were in uniform, supposedly with name tags on them?
We never want to think that in broad daylight such as that of last Wednesday morning the police needed any further special identification to recognise Ghana Immigration officers.
Was there any more proof that the Immigration officers needed to provide? Was there no better way to deal with the issue than the embarrassing display of might of the gun in the street, in the full glare of the public?
According to the Immigration Service, the suspects the police took away were four and so how come the police produced only three? What interest did the police have concerning the fourth suspect? These are the questions that are begging for answers.
Was the operation so discrete that the Immigration officials refused to divulge at least a little information to the police, so that as a sister security agency they could assist in conveying the suspects or escorting the Immigration officers if the situation demanded for it?
Are the clashes the country witnesses among our security agencies the result of a misunderstanding the agencies have about one another’s work, overzealousness in the performance of their duties or sheer show of power to prove who is more important?
The Daily Graphic thinks last Wednesday’s incident should not be left as it is but should be investigated to bring any erring officer to book.
We also suggest that if it is not already being done, then the various security agencies should be thoroughly schooled on one another’s mandate to aid them perform their duties better.
Misunderstandings among security agencies that will escalate into lawlessness are certainly not what a law-abiding peaceful country such as Ghana is ready to tolerate.