Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, 2008 Campaign Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), says recurrence of reprisals and arsons in the Northern regional capital may not cease if security agencies fail to deal with perpetrators.
Persons fanning violence in the region leading to the destruction of lives and property, he stated needed to be dealt with as criminals, rather than politicians or chiefs.
According to him persons found culpable of violence-related offences should not be left off the hook. He blamed the return of arsons to the lackadaisical attitude of security agencies in the region towards dealing with criminals. “If such persons are arrested and made to face the law they dare not try to commit further arson,” he remarked.
Mr. Obetsebi-Lamptey, who led a four member fact finding team to the region to console and sympathize with the victims of the recent arsons and reprisals in the Tamale metropolis, warned of a possible recurrence if culprits were not duly punished to serve as a deterrent to others.
He described the extent of damage caused as extensively bad and horrific expressing the hope that as promised, the police would bring the perpetrators to book; regardless of their inclinations.
The NPP stalwart disclosed that the 18 houses visited revealed about 80 destroyed rooms, rendering the occupants homeless and further depriving many of their only source of livelihood.
He added that he was reliably informed that a group of 200 persons were engaged in acts of arsons and expressed regret that the police could not even apprehend a single person for his/her alleged involvement in the arsons though they were adequately informed.
The former tourism minister stressed that until unbiased justice was applied in the case, the pack of suspected murderers could take the city by storm once again, reiterating the need for fairness, thoroughness and peace to ensure that peace prevailed.
Mr. Obetsebi-Lamptey was hopeful that the directive of the Vice President, John Mahama, that government was not ready to shield any war monger would be adhered to, hinting that a full-fledged NPP investigative team would visit the region.
While urging members of the party in the region to remain calm, he cautioned them against their involvement in acts that would undermine the peace in the area.
A member of the team and Executive Director of the Danquah Institute, Gabby Otchere-Darko, appealed to party supporters to volunteer information to the police on some of the suspects for them to be arrested.
The two other members of the team were Yaw Amfo Kwakye and Hajia Rukaya Ahmed.
Earlier, the team paid courtesy calls on the Regional Minister, Stephen Sumani Nayina and the Regional Police Commander, DCOP Ofosu Mensah-Gyeabuor, where they both pledged their commitment in ensuring that those found culpable would be brought to book.
They also donated a bag of rice and GH¢100 to each of the victims as the contribution of the 2008 flagbearer of the party, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
It would be recalled that recent reprisals between supporters of the NDC and NPP in the northern regional capital led to the death of one person and the torching of a number of houses. Several properties worth thousands of cedis were destroyed and about 500 persons rendered homeless.
Twenty two persons arrested in connection with the violence were arraigned before a Tamale Circuit court on various charges but 18 have since been granted bail in the sum of GH¢10,000 each and would reappear on March 26.
The others were refused bail considering the gravity of their offence and are expected in court at a later date.
From Stephen Zoure, Tamale