11.06.2013 Feature Article

The Mendacious Murtala Muhammed

Murtala MohammedMurtala Mohammed
11.06.2013 LISTEN

The June 3, 2013 nabbing of the security chief of Ghana's Kotoka International Airport (KIA) at New York City's John Fitzgerald Kennedy International Airport (JFK), offers a shocking eye-opener into the veritable snow-job that is the way and manner in which the Mahama-led government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has been handling the sensitive issue of national security at the most important gateway into the country via air (See "We Don't Know Busted 'Drug Baron' - Gov't" 6/10/13).

The arrested security capo, Mr. Solomon Adelarquaye (some Ghanaian media websites spell his surname without the "r"), 48, was reported to have been arrested in a sting operation run by the United States' Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in which the criminal suspect promised some U.S. undercover agents the shipment of several thousand kilograms of heroin into the United States, in exchange for the importation of a fairly equal amount of cocaine into the country for onward distribution to Asia, South Africa and elsewhere.

At the time of his arrest, Mr. Adelarquaye was reportedly carrying a trial shipment of 1 kilogram of heroin on himself, concealed in a laptop computer, which the suspect had used his influence to elude screening by security agents at KIA. He had also been reportedly paid a facilitator's advance fee of $6,000 (six-thousand U.S. dollars), with about $4,000 (four-thousand U. S. dollars) more promised him once he had fulfilled his contractual agreement.

As usual, a deputy Mahama cabinet member, Mr. Murtala Muhammed, in charge of information and media relations, has promptly and vehemently denied that the government has any intimate and personal knowledge of the suspect who, if convicted by American authorities, could spend the rest of his life in prison.

This latest denial comes in the wake of the main opposition New Patriotic Party's general-secretary, Mr. Kwadwo Owusu-Afriyie's public declaration that he is in possession of forensically sustainable evidence linking Mr. Adelarquaye to the ruling National Democratic Congress as one of the latter's major financiers.

What is surprising here is that although the late President John Evans Atta-Mills, the man that the current President of Ghana succeeded last July, had publicly decried the ramshackle state of security at KIA and promised to thoroughly revamp the same, nearly two years later, the situation clearly appears to have rapidly deteriorated from bad to worse.

We need to also quickly point out that at the time that the then-President Atta-Mills registered his grave concerns about compromised airport security - the late president had also indicated his firm belief that some key operatives of his own government were to blame for such egregious security breach - the now-President John Dramani Mahama was the former's vice-president.

It cannot, therefore, be gainsaid that Mr. Mahama does not come to the job as a total stranger. As vice-president, he had been in charge of the Ghana Police Service and most of the national security apparatus. What is quite fascinating, if also because of the embarrassing insight that it throws into the gross incompetence of the Mahama-led National Democratic Congress government, is the following observation recently made by Mr. Murtala Muhammed, the deputy information minister, at a press conference at the Flagstaff House, the official residence of President Mahama: "As a matter of fact, prior to that contract being awarded, I don't think there was any information or evidence on the leader of that group [i.e. Sohin Security] who has now been arrested in the United States." Mr. Muhammed made the following statement on Monday, June 10, 2013.

Needless to say, Mr. Muhammed's observation sharply contradicts his initial denial of the government's having had any intimate and personal knowledge of Mr. Solomon Adelarquaye; for it is highly unlikely for the government to be, somehow, in the know vis-a-vis whether, indeed, the relevant and necessary background checks had been conducted on the man hired to oversee one of the most sensitive security checkpoints in the country, if the identity of the subject is totally unknown to his employer, to begin with. In other words, if Mr. Murtala Muhammed is not a brazen liar, then it is glaringly not clear what else he is and/or may be.

Further, the information ministry's second-bananas contradicts himself by asserting that Mr. Adelarquaye was awarded his contract through an Airport Management Company's contractual bidding system of which the Mahama government had absolutely no oversight or control. The latter observation, of course, readily gives credence to Mr. Owusu-Afriyie's public allegation that Mr. Adelarquaye is a well-known major financier, or log-roller/underwriter, of the National Democratic Congress. Over to you, Mr. Mahama!

Editor's Note:

*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Department of English
Nassau Community College of SUNY
Garden City, New York
E-mail: [email protected]