Lawrencia Agyapong, the head of the communication department at the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ), has asked the Inspector General of Police to summon the general secretary of the NDC, Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, over his allegations that the government is distributing 4000 arms from the state armoury to vigilante groups.
Speaking yesterday (14 October) on The Asaase Breakfast Show, Dr Agyapong said the allegations must be treated with urgency to bring an end to the matter.
“Asiedu Nketiah is quite fond of making such wild allegations and he always gets people who ask for further information. Please, Ghana Police Service and IG [must act because this is very important].
‘‘If he has the serial numbers [of the guns], kindly invite him to provide details, so that we can get to the bottom of this. These things should not be ignored. We have to find out if he’s speaking the truth [and ask him] to provide credible information.’’
The NDC general secretary, who made the allegations, said the diversion of weapons was just one of the many tricks that the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) is deploying to disrupt the 7 December election.
“We are aware the government is distributing over 4,000 weapons from the state armoury to his vigilantes. I’m not afraid [to tell you] … when they ask you, mention my name,’’ he told a reporter for the Accra-based Adom TV.
Dr Agyapong told the host of The Asaase Breakfast Show, Kojo Mensah, that the allegation could destabilise the nation and must be treated with all seriousness.
Adib Saani, the director of the Jatikay Centre for Human Security and Peace-building, who was contributing to the same programme, thought that the government’s silence on the matter is worrying.
He called on the police to ensure urgently that they clamp down on what he described as the rising culture of impunity in Ghana.
The security expert said a survey by the Jatikay Centre shows that 90% of the people who gather to protest when political figures are arrested say they do so because of selective justice by the security agencies.
Law on fake news
Clause (1) of Section 76 of the Electronic Communications Act 2008 (Act 775) says:
“A person who by means of electronic communications service, knowingly sends a communication which is false or misleading and likely to prejudice the efficiency of life saving service or to endanger the safety of any person, … commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not more than 3,000 penalty units [GHC36,000] or to a term of imprisonment of not more than five years or both.
(2) A person is taken to know that a communication is false or misleading if that person did not take reasonable steps to find out whether the communication was false, misleading, reckless or fraudulent.”