The Ghana Police Service really needs to retrain its officers on how best to deal with civilians with a touch of humanity.
The District Police Commander for Akontombra in the Western Region, ASP Dickson Obeng, has been accused of prescribing 36 lashes as a corrective measure for a 14-year-old class 6 pupil, Stanley Antwi of the St. James Anglican Primary at Akontombra.
In photos making rounds on social media, Stanley is seen with marks of the physical assault on his back.
Explaining the incident to Citi News, father of the boy who is a 36 year old farmer, Enoch Tandoh said “I was in my farm when my wife called to inform me that our children have returned from school, but Stanley is bleeding at his back and so I should stop the farm work and assist to take him to the hospital”.
“So I rushed home to see my children only to see my son Stanley with severe marks of beatings at his back, his chest and parts of his stomach. When I asked Stanley what happened, he said the District Police Commander ASP Dickson Obeng whose office is just behind their school ordered his men to whip him for fighting with one of his classmates after school has closed”.
Mr. Tandoh continued that “I took my child together with my wife to the hospital, but we were told we have to produce a medical request form from the police before they could take care of him. Knowing the commander is the same person to eventually produce that, I reached out to the District BNI officer. He came and insisted the hospital should take care of him without further delay. He then assisted us to the commander”.
“When we got to the commander, he said my son was fighting with one of his classmates but despite a call on him to stop, he refused so he ordered his men to teach him a lesson”
“In fact, I got alarmed when he said all that is to be done is to look for a northern region type of sheer butter to apply and my boy will be fine. This is where I don’t understand. But the BNI officer is assisting me to seek justice for my son”.
According to Mr. Tandoh, people who witnessed the incident said “…he [commander] first prescribed 20 lashes for his behaviour and got his men to hold the hands and legs of my boy on a table. For every turn that he makes whilst been whipped, whatever number within the 20 that he has received will be discounted and started afresh. They did that to my son until he received the 19 lashes. The first 17 lashes were discounted”.
When Citi News contacted the regional police command, the Public Relations Officer of the service, ASP Olivia Ewurabena Adiku, noted that investigations will be carried into the circumstances that led to the incident.
Meanwhile, Mr. Tandoh is pleading with human rights advocates to assist him to seek justice for his son.
“Now my only hope is the BNI officer but I know the laws of the state does not allow police officers to do this to people, but if you people out there do not help me, I am a mere farmer who doesn’t know much”.
All calls placed to ASP Obeng Dickson were unsuccessful. This comes amidst public outrage over other cases of police brutality, with the recent one being the battering of a woman by a police officer in a Midland Savings and Loans branch.
There is also anger over the killing of seven young men by police at Asawase in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region on suspicion that they were armed robbers.