Curbing vigilantism: 2 Remanded for disturbances at NDC conference
The Accra Circuit Court has remanded in police custody two of the persons who engaged in violent activities at the National Democratic Congress (NDC) National Youth and Women conference held at Cape Coast in the Central Region On December 10, last year.
The accused persons, Abdul Halid Shaibu, aka Olu, and Razak Ibrahim, aka Oga, both pleaded not guilty for engaging in vigilante activities when they appeared before the court yesterday.
The two, who were earlier brought before the court, presided over by Samuel Bright Acquah, on January 10 this year, were in dock with one other accused person, Dauda Mohammed Nazir, who was later convicted on his own plea.
The two accused persons and the convict are three out of 16 persons who were suspected to have caused violence at the NDC National Youth and Women’s conference.
The rest of the suspects are currently on the run.
The court, deferred Dauda’s sentencing to January 25, 2022 while the cases of the other two accused persons’ has been adjourned to January 19 this year.
Counsel for the accused persons, Lamptii Apariga, Paul Abariga Asibi and Ali Jafaru, took turns to pray for bail for their clients, but were denied.
Delivering his decision on the bail application Mr Acquah said vigilantism had become “too much” in the country and needed to be checked.
“Cases of vigilantism have become too many in this country and as the 2024 election draws closer, it is the duty of the court to put fear into persons who attempt to tread that path”, the judge said.
The facts as presented by the prosecution, led by Superintendent of Police (SP) Sylvester Asare, were that on December 10, 2022, police received report of violent disturbances at the NDC's National Youth and Women's conference held in Cape Coast in the Central Region.
On receipt of the report of the violent disturbances, the prosecutor said the police commenced investigation into the matter.
During the investigation, the prosecutor said the police reviewed specific video footages of the conference and declared 16 persons, including the accused person, wanted in connection with the violence.
Police investigation, he said, revealed that the three accused persons and others at large were lodged in separate hotels in Cape Coast and fed.
“On December 10, 2022, while the congress was ongoing, the vigilante rival groups, without any provocation and to further the interests of their respective candidates, resorted to the use of violence, threat and intimidation and injured some persons.
“Some members of the opposing factions involved in the fight got injured and rushed to the hospital for treatment.
“It was also established that Shaibu and Ibrahim were paid GH¢ 250 each for their services as vigilantes at the conference for George Opare Addo,” prosecution said.
He added that Nazir and his accomplices also received GH¢ 200 each for their services as vigilantes at the conference.
On December 6, 2022, Shaibu and Ibrahim were arrested from their hideouts in Tamale and brought to Accra for investigations while Nazir was also arrested from his hideout at Kintampo.