National Security Ministry explains decision to withdraw Speakers’ military personnel

The Ministry of National Security has dismissed what it said is a spin on the withdrawal of military personnel attached to the Office of the Speaker of Parliament. 

The dismissal follows the withdrawal of four military persons from the Speaker’s security detail with effect from January 14, 2022 by the Military high command.

In a letter dated January 11, 2022 and signed by Major General NP Andoh, Chief of Staff of the Ghana Armed Forces, it said the four soldiers – WOI Jafaru Bunwura, WOII Apugiba Awine David, S/Sgt Agbley Prosper, Sgt Bonney Prince – were deployed to Speaker Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin’s office “without proper procedure” and that efforts were being made to regularise their attachment. 

The decision has been questioned by the Minority in Parliament and a section of Ghanaians who think the withdrawal would put the Speaker in harm’s way. 

But, in a statement dated January 15, 2022, the National Security Ministry said the withdrawal has been misrepresented. 

According to the ministry, “personnel of the Ghana Armed Forces do not form part of the security detail for the Speaker and Parliament as Parliamentary security support is provided by the Ghana Police Service”. 

It added that: “Any need for specific agency support is typically executed on a need-basis in accordance with stated protocols.”

Contrary to the aforesaid misinterpretation, the ministry said all requisite resources including logistics and personnel required for the full protection of the Speaker have been provided. 

The ministry said it was worth noting that for the first time since 2017, the security arrangements for both the Speaker and Members of Parliament have been significantly enhanced.

“To reiterate, there has neither been a withdrawal of the security detail for the Speaker nor a reduction in the security strength of Parliament. The good people of Ghana are, therefore, entreated to disregard any unfounded speculation to this effect,” the statement stressed. 

The Office of the Speaker, however, has questioned the motive behind the withdrawal of the four military persons. 

In the view of the Office, the withdrawal is an attempt to strip off the Speaker of security cover; a move it said was untenable and sets a bad precedent. 

“In a country that takes pride in its democratic institutions and processes, the decision to reduce the number of security personnel assigned to the Speaker detracts from the political gains that Ghana has made, and is a bad precedent. 

“The unknown reason for such a move is puzzling, but the real motive should be obvious to all objective observers of the political scene in Ghana. 

“If it is an attempt to gag the Speaker, this move will serve to only widen the gap between the legislature and the other arms of government. It also hints at the possibility of a plot to place the safety and security of the Speaker in harm’s way.”

The Ghanaian Times, meanwhile, has sighted a January 21, 2021 letter by the Clark to Parliament, Cyril Nsiah and addressed to the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, in which the former requested that one S/Sgt Adekurah Andrew be replaced with S/Sgt Apugiba Awine David of 1BN. 

“With reference to our letter PC/CS/112/20 dated  January 18, 2021 in respect of the [request for attachment of military personnel as security detail of the Right Honourable Speaker of Parliament], the Speaker has requested that 196624 S/Sgt Adekurah Andrew be replaced with 193211 S/Sgt Apugiba Awine David of 1BN,” the letter said. 

It further went ahead to name the now withdrawn four soldiers as the choice of Mr Speaker to be part of his security team. 

BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI

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