National Chairman of the NDC, Mr Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo

The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has warned that, it will hold Akufo-Addo and his government responsible, if anything happens to the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin.

In a statement issued by the National Chairman of the party, Mr. Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, the NDC expressed its reservations about the decision of the Ghana Armed Forces to recall the military officers assigned to guard the Speaker of Parliament.

According to the party, the move is a deliberate scheme by the President to make the Speaker vulnerable, thus they will hold him responsible for the security and safety of the Speaker.

“Our attention has been drawn to the awkward withdrawal of the military attachment that forms part of the Rt. Hon. Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin’s security detail.

We view the withdrawal of the military personnel as an attempt by President Akufo-Addo to expose the Rt. Hon. Speaker of Parliament to danger. We hereby serve notice, that the Minority Caucus in Parliament will, in the coming weeks, embark on a series of actions to ensure that the Rt. Honourable Speaker is provided adequate protection. We however wish to state unequivocally that the NDC will hold the Akufo-Addo led government responsible for the security and safety of Rt. Hon. A.S.K Bagbin”, portions of the statement read.

In a document which was leaked from the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), the Chief of Staff of GAF, Maj. Gen, N.P. Andoh directed the withdrawal of four soldiers from the Office of the Speaker of Parliament. According to him, the four officers were assigned there “without proper procedure.” Maj. Gen. N. P. Andoh said, WOII Apugiba Awine David, S/Sgt Agbley Prosper, WO1 Jafaru Bunwura and Sgt. Bonney Prince’s attachment to Mr. Bagbin’s office since he assumed office on January 7, last year, is improper.

Following this development, the National Security Ministry also added that the Military do not form part of the Speaker’s security detail, thus the withdrawal.

But reacting to these issues, the NDC intimated that the explanations from the Ghana Armed Forces and the National Security are disjointed, thus confirming a deliberate scheme to expose the Speaker to danger.

“We note that the letter from the Armed Forces dated 11th January, 2022 and signed by the Chief of Staff; Major General N.P. Andoh claimed that the officers were attached to the Office of the Rt. Hon. Speaker of Parliament ‘without proper procedure’.

He further stated that the withdrawal was pending efforts to regularize the attachment of the officers. The statement by the National Security Ministry on the other hand was to the effect that the Military do not form part of the Speaker’s Security detail, hence the withdrawal. The National Security Ministry’s statement clearly contradicts that of the Armed Forces High Command and can therefore not be relied upon since it flies in the face of the facts.

In any case, if the National Security Ministry’s statement that the Speaker is not entitled to Military protection is anything to go by, how would they explain the Military protection offered to lower rank government officials and appointees such as Godfred Dame, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Jean Adukwei Mensah, Chairperson of the Electoral Commission; Kissi Agyabeng, Special Prosecutor and other private individuals who enjoy military protection?”, the NDC stated.

The party further alleged that the withdrawal of the four Military men from the Speaker’s security detail, lends credence to Akufo-Addo’s ‘vindictive’ nature.

“It is nothing but a petty reactionary move by the President to show the Rt. Hon. Speaker of Parliament where power lies and it is designed to intimidate the Speaker of Parliament to kowtow to the demands of the Executive by compromising the independence of Parliament which the Speaker has sworn to protect in the ultimate interest of Ghanaians.

This development is not surprising as it confirms the idiosyncrasies of President Akufo-Addo as someone who is quick tempered and highly vindictive. Ghanaians would recall that in 2006, the same Nana Akufo-Addo who was then Minister for Foreign Affairs caused to be withdrawn, the privileges due the late former President Rawlings for being critical of the NPP government.

Again, since President Akufo-Addo assumed office as President, Ghanaians themselves are witnesses to how journalists and other persons who are critical of the government have been attacked.

In the case of Members of Parliament who criticize government, they are being hounded and threatened with prosecution over flimsy charges. He caused to be closed down, hundreds of radio stations who are critical of his government. This latest act by the President only goes to confirm his true character as intolerant, quick tempered and petty”.

Meanwhile, the Majority in Parliament have accused the Speaker of being unappreciative of the gestures extended to him by government.

The NPP MPs said Mr. Bagbin is the only Speaker who has benefited from many facilities that have not been accorded the previous Speakers, including having Military protection. According to them, although Speaker Bagbin’s Military protection has been withdrawn, the Police protection for him has always been in place.

The Speaker, they stated has four Police officers in his known residence, three Police officers in his secretariat and five other Policemen in and around the Speaker’s office.

“Indeed, none of the previous Speakers had half of the Police cover as has been accorded Rt. Hon. Bagbin. It must be emphasised for the record that Rt. Hon. Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin has been served with the largest number of security personnel for his protection that none of the previous Speakers had,” the Majority Caucus said.

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