General News of Sunday, 25 November 2018
Source: Edmond Gyebi
A Human Rights Activist and Investigative Journalist, Mr. Edmond Gyebi has registered his deepest displeasure at the “preposterous manner” in which the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) is handling a case of human right violation involving a 16-year-old boy, Christopher Bama and some soldiers in Tamale.
The ineptitude of CHRAJ in coming out with its status report, according to him, is depriving the severely tortured boy of justice, as the Military High Command has also dropped interest in the case, failed to punish the culprits and dumped the deformed boy.
In a statement issued in Accra, Mr. Gyebi fumed that, the Commission has failed to complete its independent investigations brought before it by the victim’s family in April 2016 without assigning any reasons.
“Christopher Bama was accused of stealing a TECNO mobile phone. He was handcuffed and hanged on top of a mango tree by Corporal Sampson Atuahene (owner of the mobile phone) and Corporal Collins Eyison (accomplice). With his legs not touching the ground, the 16-year-old boy, believed to be a long trusted errand boy for Corporal Sampson Atuahene, was mercilessly beaten till he fell unconscious, and yet the soldiers would not show any pity. To further press on the boy to produce the missing mobile phone he claimed he never took, the two soldiers, melted plastic materials (polythene bags) and dropped them on Christopher’s naked body. Three other soldier friends of Corporal Atuahene who had come to visit, also callously joined hands to further victimize the boy even in his sorry state. They hit him severally in the head, in the chest and in the abdomen with their boots, according to principal eyewitness, Patience Bama, a sister of Christopher,” the statement explained.
Mr. Edmond Gyebi questioned why CHRAJ as Ghana’s constitutionally mandated ombudsman responsible for investigating complaints of injustices and unfair treatments of any person by a public officer, the Armed Forces, the Police Service and the Prison Service among others, had for far too long not been impressive in its mandate especially in cases involving weak, poor and the ordinary citizens.
He condemned CHRAJ for being overly sluggish in completing its findings and coming out with its status report on Christopher Bama almost three years after the case was reported to it.
The Former Chronicle and TV Africa reporter accused CHRAJ of becoming highly preoccupied or obsessed with only politically instituted complaints to the neglect of other equally important matters of national interest especially in the area of human rights protection.
“Unlike the way CHRAJ attaches urgency and speed to its investigations into matters of high interest to government or issues involving top politicians; the Commission has been very disappointing and shows little or no commitment in handling cases involving those I will like to term as the lower class citizens”.
Mr Gyebi asserted that, “arguably, several vulnerable people and victims of violations/brutalities have been denied justice, have lost their dignities or have died out of their worsening conditions because of the maladroitness or ineptitude of CHRAJ to act swiftly or come out with its reports to enable them receive justice.
He also accused the Human Rights Lawyer, Francis Sosu Xavier who took up the matter and promised to seek justice for Christopher Bama for also being silent for some time now.
Mr. Gyebi who revealed that Christopher Bama cannot have erection and also become mentally unstable, called on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the Chief Justice Gloria Akuffo and the Gender, Children and Social Protection Minister, Cynthia Morrison to show personal interest in this matter by adding their voices to the calls on CHRAJ to release their report so that Christopher can receive justice.
“It is also astounding why the Ghana Police Service (Northern Regional Command) and the Military High Command have since closed their eyes on this matter, even though it was reported to them. Those irresponsible soldiers are walking freely on the streets of Tamale and are still in active service receiving taxpayers’ money, whilst the poor boy continues to suffer”.
He called on the Defence Minister, the Chief of Defence Staff and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to revisit this matter and give it the necessary attention.
Mr. Edmond Gyebi also called on Lawyer Francis Sosu Xavier who voluntarily chose to fight for the victim and his family to renew his commitment and pursue the case from CHRAJ to its logical conclusion.