Swalah Abdul Wahab, the Ghana Journalist Association (GJA) president for the Upper West Region had a scare of his life after he was subjected to serious threats at gun point by some Immigration Officers in the Nadowli-Kaleo District of the Upper West in the full glare of the public.
The incident occurred at the Immigration’s check point in Naru in the Nadowli-Kaleo district on Tuesday, June 20, 2023, when the GJA president was on board a passenger vehicle from Wa to Bolgatanga to attend a training workshop.
Speaking to our GhanaWeb’s regional correspondent in an interview, Swalah Abdul-Wahab said when they reached the check point, the driver of their vehicle had to pull up to enable him attend nature’s call, prompting the passengers to also alight to wait for the driver’s return.
He said he decided to use the opportunity to empty his bowel and therefore went to greet the Immigration oOfficers and requested to use their ‘buuta’ (ablution kettle) to do so of which they obliged.
Narrating further, he said he saw a small structure nearby that looked like a washroom and asked if he could use there to pee but they declined and so, he had no option but to stride some metres away into the bush to find a place to free himself.
According to him, at that point, he was told by the officers that he dare not go there to urinate unless he crossed the street to the other side of the road to do so.
“I was onboard a passenger vehicle to Bolga for a workshop and when we got to an immigration check point at Naru, our driver stopped and asked for permission to attend to nature’s call. So we all alighted. I wanted to urinate and having seen an ablution kettle with the officers, I sought their permission to use it and they accepted. I saw a small structure with a zinc roofing which appeared to be a washroom nearby so I requested if I could use it but they said no
“Because of that, I decided to walk far away down the bush to ease myself there but that was met with resistance by the officers telling me I was not allowed to urinate there. They ordered me to cross to the other side of the road if I wanted to ease myself which was a surprise to me,” he narrated.
According to the GJA President, he asked them why he was not permitted to ease himself there since he was not going to urinate near their base to which, they responded by saying that was their law.
He indicated that when he questioned them what if in the process of crossing the road just to go and ease himself, he got knocked down by an oncoming vehicle or motorbike, they retorted by telling him to learn to talk sense in his comments.
He furthered that when he decided to proceed to go and ease himself at the place nonetheless, the officers warned him to proceed to do so if he believed he was man enough.
Infuriated by his insistence to urinate in the bush which was no where near the check point, yet, the officers took offence and started hurling unprintable insults on him.
He noted that matters got to a head when one of the officers took a gun and threatened to kill him for ‘flouting’ their orders to urinate at the place.
The soft-spoken journalist noted that during all the verbal assaults and threats on him, he restrained himself to insult back due to his regard for their uniforms.
He added that at a point, a senior officer among them by name Enim Agyebeng went in and came out holding a pistol threatening to lock him up.
“I was actually surprised about the whole issue. So I asked them why I wasn’t allowed to free myself there since where I wanted to pee was far, far away from the check point. It wasn’t near them at all. They told me that was their law to prevent me from urinating at the place. I asked them what if I got knocked down in my attempt to cross the road and they retorted that I should speak sense when I’m talking. At this point, they threatened that I should go ahead and urinate if I said I was a man enough. After the urination, they started insulting and calling me names, describing me as a disrespectful person. One of them took a gun and threatened to shoot and blow my head off. What he said was that he would kill me
“Even their boss, his name is Enim Agyebeng, at a point, went inside and took a pistol which he threatened me with saying he was going to lock me up. I just don’t know why they behaved that way whether that’s how they behaved towards people at the check point. But due to my regard for their uniform, I restrained myself from insulting back,” he explained.
When the reporter asked Swalah whether they knew he was a journalist, he answered in the negative and stated it was only when they were about leaving the area to continue their journey when he told them they would also hear from him after having humiliated him to such an extent for nothing.
He told GhanaWeb he would be making an official complaint with the Regional Police Command upon his return.
All passengers in the vehicle reportedly registered their displeasure and shock over the action of the Immigration Officers but could not do much due to the threats by the officers with guns.
However, attempts to hear the side of the officers have not been successful as at the time of filing this report.
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