Oquaye Denies Soldiers Protection

Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye

Immediate-past Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye, has quashed claims that he was given military protection during his tenure at the 7th Parliament of the Fourth Republic.

There have been reports that Prof. Oquaye was given military detail attached to his office for his protection as Speaker.

“I wish to categorically state that this is palpably false. I was never offered military protection nor did I request for any. Indeed, I had only three policemen to move with me and provide security at all material times,” the former Speaker said in a statement rebutting the claims.

“This information can be easily verified by anyone who cares for the truth at the office of the Clerk to Parliament at any given time,” he stated further, adding, “I will pray that my name is left out of this media discourse on military protection and call upon all discerning Ghanaians to disregard any misleading reportage on same.”

Minority Cries Foul

The Minority in Parliament activated their propaganda machinery by roping the former Speaker into the current Speaker Alban Bagbin’s case where the Military High Command over the weekend withdrew some four soldiers who were part of his security detail.

The NDC MPs through their Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, in a statement, said “It is pertinent to note that the only reason given for the shameful withdrawal of Mr Speaker’s security detail is that the attachment was done without following the proper procedure.”

“Curiously, the government fails and/or omits to spell out the procedure for the attachment of military personnel to high profile personalities such as the Speaker of Parliament,” the statement added.

Haruna Iddrisu, who is the NDC MP for Tamale South, said further that “if the action of the Military High Command is in good faith, the irregularity in relation to the attachment could be rectified without necessarily having to withdraw the personnel.”

According to him, the Clerk to Parliament, Cyril Nsiah, on January 21, 2021 wrote to the Chief of Staff of the Ghana Armed Forces to request the attachment of the military personnel in question.

“At this point, the Chief of Staff did not detect any procedural irregularities in relation to Mr Speaker’s request,” he noted and questioned why it had become an issue after one year on.

For Haruna Iddrisu, the posturing of the Chief of Staff, Major General Andoh, in this regard is “preposterous”, saying, “The Minority states further without any equivocation that the attachment of military personnel to the office of the Speaker is not an isolated incident at all.”

“For instance, members of the executive branch of government other than the President and Vice President who are below the Speaker of Parliament in terms of status and rank as provided for in the constitution have at various times had soldiers attached to their offices,” he claimed.

“Flowing from the above, the Minority is certain that the action of the Military High Command relative to the withdrawal of Mr Speaker’s security detail is politically motivated and calculated to diminish his confidence in his bid to impartially and independently steer the affairs of the legislative arm of government.”

The statement indicated that “the Minority shall hold the government of President Akufo-Addo responsible for the security of Mr. Bagbin.”

Security Ministry

The Ministry of National Security over the weekend debunked claims that the security detail for Mr. Bagbin, had been withdrawn, and called on the public to disregard any unfounded speculation to this effect.

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

The ministry said it had taken note of the circulation of a leaked correspondence between the office of the Chief of Staff, the Ghana Armed Forces, and the Speaker of Parliament, on social media.

“Subsequently, the content of the correspondence has been misinterpreted as an attempt by the Executive arm of government to deprive the Speaker of the resources required for his full protection,” the statement indicated.

“The Ministry of National Security would like to place on record that, contrary to the aforesaid misinterpretation, all requisite resources including logistics and personnel required for the full protection of the Speaker have been provided,” it stressed.

The statement added that “it is worth noting that for the first time since 2017, the security arrangements for both the Speaker and Members of Parliament have been significantly enhanced.”

“It also needs stating that 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.”

The Security Ministry said any need for specific agency support is typically executed on a need-basis in accordance with stated protocols.

“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 concluded.

Initial Propaganda

Four officers of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) were withdrawn from the Speaker’s security detail amid claims of improper procedure to their deployment.

The military personnel included 190195 WOI Jafaru Bunwura, 193211 WOII Apugiba Awine David, 198083 S/Sgt Agbley Prosper, and 201021 Sgt Bonney Prince.

In a letter dated January 11, 2022 and addressed to the Speaker, Chief of Staff of the GAF, Major General NP Andoh said the soldiers “were attached to the Office of the Right Honourable Speaker of Parliament without the proper procedure.”

“It is humbly requested that the personnel are withdrawn with effect from January 14, 2022 whiles efforts are made to regularise their attachment,” the letter indicated further.

Immediately the letter hit social media, the NDC activated its propaganda machine and started attacking the NPP Administration, saying the government was stripping Mr. Bagbin of his security and putting him in danger.

By Ernest Kofi Adu