Angry members of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the Odododiodioo Constituency in Accra yesterday besieged the Jamestown Police Station demanding the immediate release of three of their members – Teddy Moore, Nii Koodi and another young man whose name was only given as Prince.
It follows their arrest the previous night in relation to clashes between supporters of the party and those of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) after separate rallies.
The incumbent Member of Parliament (MP) for the area, who also doubles as the Minister of Youth and Sports, Edwin Nii Lantey Vanderpuye, allegedly started the fracas.
Nii Lantey refused to talk when DAILY GUIDE reached him on telephone, saying he was at a meeting.
According to supporters of the NPP, right after the launch of their constituency campaign at the famous Bukom Square, which recorded a mammoth crowd on Tuesday, they decided to embark on a procession in the area to shore up support for their parliamentary and presidential candidates, Nii Lante Bannerman and Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo respectively.
The supporters claimed that just when they got to a section of the Gbese chief’s palace, the NDC activists started pelting them with stones without any provocation and so they decided to respond in like manner and chased the NDC goons away.
But later, they (NDC supporters) managed to regroup and again attacked the procession, including the NPP parliamentary candidate, at the General Post Office area and ended up shooting one of the NPP supporters.
They, therefore, decided to go to the Jamestown Police Station but that was when matters reportedly got out of hand.
The NDC activists were said to have started moving from house to house assaulting relatives of the NPP supporters, including parents of the party’s parliamentary candidate.
Moments after the NPP supporters got to the police station to lodge a formal complaint, Nii Lantey Vanderpuye, who was in the company of some stoutly-built men, were also said to have stormed the place demanding the arrest of the NPP boys.
When the police declined, he reportedly pounced on one of the NPP supporters in the person of Joseph Addo popularly known as Zola, who is the assembly member for Ngleshie Electoral Area, allegedly punching him indiscriminately together with the ‘macho men,’ including one Mawuko, a police informant.
“Immediately he saw me, he punched my face three times in front of the police,” Zola narrated to DAILY GUIDE.
One other person, Walter Bruce Tagoe aka Ras, was also reportedly beaten to pulp by the men, leaving him with a swollen lip.
This was said to have happened in the presence of the policemen, including the Jamestown District police commander, ASP Albert Mahu.
The minister reportedly threatened to cause the transfer of the police commander if he did not arrest the assembly member.
At a point when he realized that his life was in danger, Zola said he had to run for his life.
Minister Pulls Gun
But that did not end as yesterday morning Nii Lantey reportedly blocked the vehicle of the NPP parliamentary candidate in the middle of the road around the Assembly Spot area while he [Bannerman] was on his way to a meeting called by the Divisional police commander over the previous day’s fracas.
“He just crossed my car with his car so my brother wanted to reverse. But there was a taxi behind us; we bumped into the taxi and the car stopped. But I never imagined that he was coming to physically attack me; he gave me two hefty punches on my jaw,” he claimed.
Asked what his reaction was, Bannerman said, “I wanted to come down and face him. I’m a man. I wanted to come down but people restrained me; I got down and I wanted to attack him but they prevented me.”
The minister was said to have immediately reached out for a pistol from his car together with one Nii Amass, described by many as a notorious land guard and a certain Mawuko who all started firing warning shots to scare away people from coming close, before leaving the scene.
Nii Lantey Bannerman said, “Absolutely nothing has been done by the Jamestown police, meanwhile, we’ve lodged over 30 similar complaints of attacks on our supporters but no action has been taken.”
The NPP youth, therefore, seemed to have lost confidence in the police at Jamestown whom they accused of being biased and selective in the administration of justice.
They could not fathom why the police arrested three of their supporters while the minister and his supporters, who were fired gunshots and beat up people, had been left off the hook.
They therefore went to the police station not to only demand the release of their colleagues, but also call for the arrest and prosecution of the minister.
Greater Accra Organiser of the NPP, Archibald Cobbina, who led the charged youth, served notice that they would not allow their supporters to be cowed into submission.
Not even the intervention of party elders like former Mayor of Accra and Chairman of the NPP’s Greater Accra Council of Elders, Stanley Nii Adjiri Blankson; Lawyer Ayikoi Otoo; Greater Accra Regional Chairman, Ishmael Ashietey; former National Organiser, Lord Commey; former Deputy Agric Minister, Dr Hammond and former MP for the area, Reginald Nii Bi Ayibonte could calm their nerves until their colleagues were granted bail.
Also present at the police station were the party’s parliamentary candidates for Ablekuma South, Jerry Ahmed Shaib; Ablekuma Central Ebenezer Nartey; Weija-Gbawe, Tina Mensah and Klottey Korle, Phillip Addison.
Source: Daily Guide