Inspector General of Police (IGP) James Oppong-Boanuh has blamed the stiff posture of the security services at various checkpoints enforcing the lockdown directives on recalcitrant citizens.
The IGP said some people are giving unsubstantiated excuses to the security services to allow them pass.
But such excuses, if allowed, he says, would mar the directives on Covid-19.
Government extended the partial lockdown imposed on some four cities of the country by one more week.
The extension took effect from Monday,April 13, and will be subject to review.
“The decision has been taken through the issuance of another Executive Instrument to extend the restriction of movements in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area and Kasoa and the Greater Kumasi Metropolitan Area and its contiguous districts by one more week beginning 1am on Monday the 13th of April, subject to review,” President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo announced on Thursday, April 9, 2020 during a televised address.
This was after the President’s earlier announcement of a two-week partial lockdown of the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area including Tema and Kasoa as well as the Greater Kumasi Metropolitan Area as part of the effort to stop the spread of the viral disease in the country.
Reports suggest that the one-week extension has been greeted with stiff and harsh decisions by security personnel at the various check points, where commercial vehicles despite observing the social distancing directives are asked to offload their passengers and return.
Reacting to the development on Onua FM’s Yen Sempa, the IGP said in Twi: “Some places do not want to obey the directives and as and when we move on with the enforcement of the directives, we have to improve upon it that is why we have put in stiff measures to enforce the directives”.
IGP Oppong-Boanuh said: “If all the citizens are to obey the rules, the security would not have difficulties but some people are giving excuses and these are not something the officers will accept and allow you to pass.”
The Ghana Police Service chief explained that the security officers are mandated to first speak to the civilians when they are stopped at a check point “but if they speak to you and you don’t take their directives, they will arrest you and if you resist, they use minimum force to subdue you and take you to the police station”.
The IGP assured that the Service will review the operations as and when necessary to enforce the directives.
“As time goes on, we will review the operations and where the people are not obeying the directives, we shall storm there with police and soldiers. That is why we have intensified the operations but the rules are the same.”
He explained that “the officers at various areas and checkpoints have discretions to either allow or disallow someone to pass”.
Mr. Oppong-Boanuh refused to mention any flashpoints areas as far as the lockdown directives are concerned but urged the citizens to obey the directives.
“I don’t want to mention names but I urge you all to obey the laws because mentioning names of area that are being recalcitrant would mean we are lawless and I don’t want that. What I would urge is that those in the lockdown areas should abide by the directives and stay home.”
On why commercial vehicles are being turned away by the security services at the various checkpoints, the IGP explained that “they are to work but should observe social distance. If they don’t observe the social distancing, the officers at the barrier have the discretion to let you return”.
He explained that “the people are many in town and if care is not taken, things will be out of hand”.
He said “those on special duties, essential workers were given the pass from the National Security Secretariat but those without the pass must be allowed to work or pass provided they have an identity cards from their various companies”.
“If you are able to prove with your ID card, they have to allow you but they [journalists] are not allowed to be in town anytime unless they are on duties,” he explained.
By Kweku Antwi-Otoo|3news.com|Ghana