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21.05.2004 General News

Vigilance of NRC members saves Policeman's life

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Tamale, May 21, GNA - The vigilance of Members of the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) at a public hearing in Tamale on Thursday saved the life of a Policeman, when he appeared before the Commission to testify in a case, which led to his dismissal from the Police Service.

Ex-Detective Corporal Madugu Abdallah Alhassan, now a farmer, could not bear the pain in him when he started to narrate the circumstances leading to his dismissal in 1984. He said he was enlisted into the Police Service in 1973 and posted to Savelugu in the Savelugu-Nanton District where he was dismissed in an alleged bribery case.

Corporal Alhassan said his Superior Officers alleged that he had offered a five-cedi bribe to someone and also threatened the life of a Lawyer but denied the allegation before the Commission. He said his dismissal followed his interception of a petrol tanker conveying petrol to the Northern Regional Administration and which his Superior Officers were diverting to Savelugu to sell. His Superior Officers, he said, instead fabricated stories against him and finally got him dismissed.

At this juncture in his testimony before the Commission, Corporal Alhassan started to murmur, blinked his eyes, and sat motionless on his seat. His mood caught the eyes of the interpreter to Commission who signalled for help to stop the petitioner from collapsing. Corporal Alhassan was then given a cup of water to sip. Mr Justice K. E. Amua-Sekyi, Chairman of the Commission requested Corporal Alhassan, who had recovered to tender all documents that he had wished to present to the Commission for the members to look at them because of his sudden ill health.

Corporal Alhassan complied with the request, opened his briefcase and removed three sets of Police uniforms and his discharge book and showed them to the Members of the Commission. Last Monday, Corporal Alhassan went into the same mood when he appeared before the Commission to testify.

Mr Issah Yahaya, now unemployed and a resident of Tamale, told the Commission how soldiers stormed the Aboabo Market in Tamale in 1981 and seized his 15 bags of paddy rice when he was about to travel to the Techiman Market in the Brong Ahafo Region where he usually sold his grains. He said the then Northern Regional Secretary, Mr John Ndebugre led armed soldiers to the Aboabo Market and seized goods from traders and sold them at controlled prices. He said he was told that his goods together with those of his sister were sent to the Northern Regional Administration but he could not go there for fear of his life.

Asked how the loss had affected his life, Mr Yayaha replied: "My Lord, I have now become a pauper." Bishop Charles Palmer-Buckle, a Member of the Commission, asked Mr Yahaya how he was feeding himself and his family. Replying, he said: "I have been going to the market to help friends, who out of sympathy, give me some money to cater for my family. I can say I have been living on charity for the past 22 years. I also look up to God for help to cater for my 23 children."

When Bishop Palmer-Buckle asked him whether he would take good care of his 23 children if the money he spent to buy the paddy rice were refunded to him, he replied in the affirmative. The Bishop told him: "Ours is to reconcile but sometimes, we need to be straight with one another. "Are you saying that for the past 22 years you have been doing nothing? If that is the case, what type of example are you giving to your children"? Mr Yahaya answered: "My lord, I am doing something but that is not enough." "Do you still want to have more children?" the Bishop asked. "God has not finished delivery", Mr Yahaya replied, meaning that once he was able to have children, it meant God had ordained that to happen.

Mr Yahaya told the Commission that he married five wives but three of them had divorced him because of financial difficulties and appealed to the Commission to come to his aid.

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