Yesterday was the turn of an octogenarian at the sitting of the NRC.
Some of the National Reconciliation Commission members came across his name when they were only teenagers and so coming face to face with him as he recalled his days in detention during the late Dr. Kwame Nkrumah's administration for allegedly being in possession of a bomb was a great history lesson to them. The Rev. Fr. Palmer-Buckle for instance said he was only 12 when he heard about the bomb-throwing allegation against him and others in 1962 on radio.
Mr. Abdul Aziz Teiko Tagoe together with names like Malam Tula, Quaye Mensah, Sarbah and others who are now deceased made headlines when they were tried for treason and jailed under the Preventive Detention Act (PDA) in 1962.
Walking with the assistance of a stick in his right hand, Teiko Tagoe who now lives in Ajenkotoku on the Accra-Nsawam road told the commission that he was twenty seven when he was sent by Mr. Quaye Mensah from Alajo to deliver a parcel to a man called Mr. Antwi at Bukom.
When he got to the point of delivery, a CPP rally was in progress but Antwi did not collect the parcel but rather asked him to wait. After waiting for a while and realising the man was not returning he decided to leave.
Unfortunately for him however some policemen arrested him after discovering the content of the parcel he was holding. He said he was chained, handcuffed, locked up, interrogated and beaten by the policemen.
The then Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mr. Samuel Danso Amane he alleged, ordered that he be denied food. Some kind policemen however sneaked in some food to him while he was in the cells.
When during interrogation he mentioned Quaye Mensah as the man who sent him with the parcel he too was arrested from his Alajo residence.
Tagoe said at the time of his arrest he did not know that the parcel he was sent with contained a bomb. Quaye Mensah when he was interrogated said the bomb was part of many brought into the country by some of Nkrumah's Ministers like Ako Adjei, Krobo Adusei, Kofi Crabbe, Kofi Asante Ofori Atta and Tawiah Adamafio.
Quaye Mensah said the bombs which had been detonated in some parts of the country was the work of some people from the north and not Tagoe.
At the end of the trial the suspects were sentenced to death but this was commuted to twenty years in jail afterwards.
In prison, he told the commission, they were each issued with a lice infested blanket and they slept on the bare floor. Each cell he said was painted white with the lights constantly on and this he said resulted in his eyesight going bad.His sleeping on the bare floor caused him to suffer from rheumatism.
When one of the panel members sought to know whether a bomb was detonated at Bukom, he said no. About the political affiliation of Quaye Mensah he said he did not know.
Asked why he went to Bukom when he knew a CPP rally was on there, since he was a UP sympathizer, he said he did not know about that event, but added that at the time he got to the place nothing had started.
They had not finished serving their sentence when the 1966 coup took place and they were released. Asked whether Quaye Mensah apologised to him for being the source of his trouble he said yes. Quaye Mensah he added asked him to let bygone be bygones when they met.
He got a job with the Mosquito Control Unit of the Ministry of Health where he worked for sometime until his appointment was terminated. Before his arrest and subsequent detention he told the commission that he worked with a private company but because he was an UP man a letter came to the Managing Director to have him sacked which was done. In those he told the commission that people who did not belong to the CPP were fired from their places of employment.
He had petitioned the commission so he can have his name cleared for what he deemed unlawful and unjustifiable arrest and detention.