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23.04.2006 General News

Journalists run for their lives


Accra, April 22, GNA - A group of Journalists on Saturday had to run for their lives when some well-built men burst into a house at James Town, Accra where a press conference was being held to throw light on the leadership style of Nii Kojo Ababio V, Chief of Ngleshie Alata Traditional Area.

Hardly had the conference addressed by Nii Afrantei Odoi, Secretary to James Town ruling houses ended when the invading group began throwing and breaking plastic chairs and Nii Odoi shot out of the house and the journalists and those there took to their heels and emerged on the street with some taking cover at the nearby James Town Police Station.

The thugs swiftly jumped into their car and sped away as Metro TV and TV3 cameracrew took fast shots at them.

No one was hurt in the melee.

Nii Kojo Armah Attoh, Acting Adjumaku Mantse and Regent of the James Town Stool house where the conference was held said the action of the thugs had given credence to what they were saying that Nii Ababio had sold their land and with the money hired people to silence any opposition to his rule which they dreaded.

Nii Attoh mentioned the leader of the group, which disorganised the conference as Nii Hyde alias Nii Armah Sadam alias Rasta. Nii Attoh, Nii Odoi and the other elders of James Town, including Nii Sackey Akumia VI, Adanse Mantse and Regent of the James Town Stool and Alhaji Tackie Otoo, an Elder of James Town immediately made a report to the police.

Nii Odoi, addressing the conference earlier accused Nii Ababio for allegedly selling large tracts of James Town land worth billion of cedis without accounting to the people and the stool, while the people were wallowing in poverty, homeless and were forced to be sleeping in the street.

He said though the kingmakers of James Town had destooled Nii Ababio about 20 years ago with the endorsement by the late Ga Mantse, Nii Amugi II, Nii Ababio still enjoyed the recognition of government. Nii Odoi said the Ga Traditional Council had also, for four years now failed to set up a panel to adjudicate on a suit the kingmakers had filed against Nii Ababio.

Quoting from a 1987 High Court judgement in a case the police brought against Nii Okpeh of James Town and six others to restrain them from committing a breach of the peace, Nii Odoi said the Presiding Judge, Mr A. A Benin had said, "In fact I see through it an attempt to gag the defendants who appear vocal in their stand against Nii Ababio V.

"It seems the police are only being used as a conduit pipe by Nii Kojo Ababio V in his chieftaincy battle with the defendants. This Court which has no jurisdiction in chieftaincy matters cannot be used in criminal proceedings to achieve what it has no jurisdiction to do in civil law."

The judgement continued, "..this court has no power to restrain persons who claimed to be accredited kingmakers from meeting to take decision affecting the James Town Stool"

Nii Odoi said that judgement was clear yet the influence of Nii Kojo Ababio had prevailed over the police once he was once a member of the Police Council and all the appeals and efforts to bring the "destooled" chief to order had failed, adding that the kingmakers would not like to breach the peace and they would use lawful pressure to bear on the issue until the frivolous sale of James Town lands was stopped and retrieved for the people.