President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has suspended the Upper West Regional Minister, Alhaji Sulemana Alhassan, from office with immediate effect.
A statement signed by the Director of Communications at the Flagstaff House, Mr Eugene Arhin, stated that Alhaji Alhassan would remain on suspension pending the outcome of an investigation into the unfortunate incidents that occurred on the premises of the Upper West Regional Office of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) in Wa last Wednesday, January 31, 2018.
In his place, it said, the Deputy Upper West Regional Minister, Mr Amidu Ishaq, would act as Regional Minister in the interim, pending the conclusion of the investigation.
“President Nana Akufo-Addo reiterates his commitment to the application of the laws of the land, which must occur without fear or favour, affection and without recourse to the political, religious or ethnic affiliations of any citizen of the land,” it said.
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Meanwhile, Mr Alhassan was in a meeting of the Upper West Regional Security Council when the news of his suspension broke, forcing him to cut short the meeting and endure an emotional exit, reports Michael Quaye from Wa.
The meeting, at the Conference Hall of the Upper West Regional Coordinating Council, had travelled almost an hour, with Mr Alhassan presiding over affairs, when he heard of his suspension.
The meeting was occasioned by last Wednesday’s violent attack on the Upper West Regional Coordinator of NADMO, Mr Seidu Sulemana, by some supporters of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) following disputes relating to internal polling station elections.
The minister is said to have intervened in the matter and appeared to have overruled a mass arrest of the perpetrators of the violent action by the police after visiting the scene of the incident.
The subsequent developments, including a strike called by NADMO workers across the region over the issue, had attracted national attention.
Mr Alhassan, some sources told the Daily Graphic, had called the meeting to discuss security matters relating to the attack on the regional NADMO boss, particularly as it followed a similar attack on the residence of the Chief Executive of the Wa Municipal Assembly, Mr Issahaku Moomin.
But a phone call, seemingly from the Flagstaff House in Accra, cut short the deliberations when the minister announced the news of his suspension to the meeting.
Fourteen of the NPP youth who came from the Wa East Constituency to attack the regional NADMO boss wrote to apologise for their actions of last Wednesday.
The offices of NADMO in the Upper West Region have shut down indefinitely following the attack on the regional office and the regional coordinator.
Mr Sulemana and his staff were held for hours, while his personal security officer was beaten up, during a stand-off that lasted more than four hours.
The staff of NADMO working in the Wa and the 10 district offices have refused to return to work for fear of a possible return of the youth who stormed the office.
At a news conference in Wa on Thursday, the NADMO workers said they would return only if the youth who attacked the regional office were arrested for prosecution.
The personal security officer, Mr Seidu Osman, whose brave intervention in the face of the overwhelming numbers of the youth saved the day for the regional coordinator, has been treated and discharged from hospital.
The youth, numbering about 30, were initially arrested by the police team which dashed from their office, located less than 100 metres away, to foil the assault, but they were released immediately when Mr Alhassan sought to take control over the matter.