Private legal Practitioner Martin Kpebu has urged journalists in Ghana to stand up against abuse and intimidation by national security operatives.
It follows the arrest of two journalists of Accra-based Citi FM for allegedly filming at the national security premises. Caleb Kudah and his colleague Zoe Abu-Baidoo were arrested in a Rambo style, forced to delete the video, interrogated, and released.
Mr Kudah has also recounted how he was beaten up by officers of the national security while they detained him.
“They were still beating me slapping me from the back, I will be talking to another one and someone will come and slap me from the back and you feel dizzy at once. At this point, they had handcuffed me and every now and again one will come and press it harder so that I feel the pain.
“Along the line, a man identified as Agyeman came in and I tried to talk to him, and immediately, he asked me to kneel down and he kicked me in the groin. I tried to plead with him that Sir they have beaten me enough. I beg you please let me go because he told me to kneel down, he kicked me in
the groin,” he told CITI TV.
Speaking on Morning Starr with Francis Abban, Mr. Kpebu condemned the manner in which the arrests were made. According to him until the media stands up to the National Security the intimidation and abuse of citizens will continue.
“You journalists, what we need to do is that we need to seek more education so that you’re empowered.
“It looks like just because we don’t have much education (legal) as soon as they mention national security of course and some of them because they use force then they can intimidate citizens into submission. It’s wrong. National security doesn’t mean they are not subject to the law. They are also
subject to the law. It’s not as if they are entitled to do anything anyhow, No!”
According to him, the Emile Short Commission report on the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election exposed the excesses of the national security secretariat which should have been a wake up call to Ghanaians.
“You remember the Ayawaso West Wuogon Commission report that indicted them relative to the unlawful way they conducted themselves? They were operating a police station there against the law. You saw how the commission uncovered all the rot there? A very bad manner in which they
were conducting themselves. So that’s it. Journalists you have to stand up otherwise if we just think at the mention of national security it means they are truly doing the interest of the state that will be a big mistake”.
Mr. Kpebu disclosed national security has always been used as a tool for abusing the rights of citizens.
“It’s not only in Ghana, all over across the world that’s the state, if journalists and citizens are not awake people will use national security to cause more crimes than even what ordinary citizens will do.”
“So it’s a question of who is watching the watchman? National security doesn’t mean we cannot scrutinize. The last time we scrutinized they performed very poorly. We saw the illegal police station they were operating and it’s surprising, they are still operating it there and we’re quiet. That’s
the thing about Ghanaians, we’re quiet.”
“How many years have passed after Ayawaso West Wuogon Commission report? A journalist should be interested in going there, seek permission to film and find out, are they still operating a police station there? Go in there, you’ll find that it’s there. They are still doing these things and we are quiet. Look we have to sit up”.