Four organisations in the country have called on the security agencies to be professional in the discharge of their duties, especially in the maintenance of law and order during protests.
They have also urged protesters to be equally law-abiding by acting responsibly within the remit of the law while exercising their rights.
The organisations are the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), the Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference (GCBC), the National Peace Council (NPC) and the Federation of Muslim Councils of Ghana (FMC).
In a statement signed by the Chairperson of the NCCE, Ms Josephine Nkrumah, the commission reminded the security agencies that lives lost could not be replaced.
“Our law enforcement agencies are to maintain law and order and also protect the citizenry. Unfortunately, there is a perception of growing loss of public confidence in them,” it said.
It said the illegality or otherwise of citizens’ protests should not lead to unjustified and unwarranted use of force against unarmed citizens of the country.
“The right to express ourselves is one of the key pillars of a vibrant democracy and any illegitimate attempt to thwart such a right is repugnant to our democratic culture,” it said.
The statement urged well-meaning people to speak against those brutalities and reiterated the need for all to refrain from acts that could worsen the already volatile situation in Ejura.
In a statement signed by the President of the GCBC, the Most Rev. Philip Naameh, the bishops described the incident at Ejura as unfortunate.
“The situation is rather getting out of hand and this does not augur well for our country. How can one justify the action of the military man seen in the viral video aiming and shooting at unprotected and unarmed civilians in an attempt to stop the demonstration?
“This act is not only condemnable but also criminal and must be investigated and the perpetrators duly punished,” it said.
It also appealed to all agitated youth across the country, particularly those at Ejura, to restrain themselves from engaging in further acts of violence, adding that those who wished to exercise their fundamental human rights to demonstrate must do so within the remit of the laws of the country.
The NPC’s statement, which was signed by its Chairman, Rev. Dr Ernest Adu Gyamfi, expressed appreciation to the President for the directive to the Minister of the Interior to conduct a public inquiry into the circumstances that led to the unfortunate occurrences at Ejura.
“We encourage the proposed committee to work within its terms of reference,” it said, and urged all the people in the community to keep calm and allow investigations to take their full course.
Federation of Muslim Councils
According to FMC, the firing of live bullets by the military into unarmed youth who were peacefully protesting the gruesome murder of one of their own was inconsistent with contemporary policing, civilian crowd control and standard military engagements.
“The unleashing of the military on civilians in purely civil matters is becoming a bane under this government. Examples are not far-fetched,” a statement signed by the Secretary-General of the FMC, Hajj Muhammad Amir Kpakpo Addo, claimed.
It said the government’s sparing condemnation of such incidents and assurances of conducting investigations into them no longer engendered confidence in the citizenry about its sincerity to walk the talk on such matters.
Following the alleged murder of a social media activist, Ibrahim Mohammed, alias Macho Kaaka, at Ejura last Sunday, the town was put on the edge last Tuesday as some military men were alleged to have shot and killed two persons and injured four others who were protesting Kaaka’s killing by unknown assailants in front of his home.