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09 July 2016

BNI doing ‘too much politics’ – PPP

PPP-progressive-peoples-partySecurity agency Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) is doing too much politics, policy advisor of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), Kofi Asamoah Siaw has said.

“Look, BNI should stop the politics they are doing! …They have been doing politics too much and it is not good. I am passionate about BNI because we have the CIA and they don’t know Democrats and Republicans…the BNI has not been [independent]. They have been arresting people who just post Facebook images of the President. What did they do to them? Somebody has run down your Chief Justice …I believe in state institutions that must run. Is that the way the FBI behaves in the US? …When has the BNI issued statements on things they have done in the past?” Mr. Asamoah Siaw asked.

His accusation follows the bureau’s statement issued on Thursday, July 7, which claimed that its checks into the backgrounds of two radio panellists who threatened to kill justices of the Supreme Court, revealed that they could not carry out their threat.

“The Bureau of National Investigations on 3 July 2016 questioned two radio commentators, namely Alistair Tairo Nelson, 41, and Godwin Ako Gun, 39, on comments they aired on Montie FM, an Accra-based radio station attacking justices of the Supreme Court. The arrest was premised on the fact that their comments were considered provocative, inflammatory and unacceptable and had the potential of creating security challenges.

“In arresting the two, the BNI took into consideration, the current volatile security situation in the country as we inch towards the 2016 elections. At the interrogation, the two suspects admitted making those statements and acknowledged that their remarks were regrettable and unfortunate. Further checks by the BNI have, however, established that the suspects were incapable of carrying out pronouncements but did so in a show of needless bravado.

“Nevertheless, our investigations are ongoing and the suspects are reporting to the BNI three times a week. The BNI further observes that thus far several electronic and print media outlets have become notorious for their intemperate vituperations, personal attacks, and outright insults, among others. This is a serious security concern that we will not allow to fester,” the state security body said.

The statement has been condemned by security analyst Dr. Kwesi Aning who told Class News: “I think the signal that has been sent out is that: say what you want to say, threaten as many people as possible and so far as you apologise to us, then that is fine. That to me is not fine, precisely because it contributes to two things: first, it is sowing fear and creating a society of fear in which people, who can contribute to our politics and want to perform their professional duties as effectively and as objectively as possible …are kept frightened. Secondly, it creates a psychological foundation for the actual violence to take place.”

“Let us not forget that those, who incite and create a justification for perpetrating atrocities themselves don’t take part in the violence. So when people have used this very powerful medium to send out a message that the critical mass of our population feels frightened about, and it has been described the way it has been described, I think it is most unfortunate.

“I think the BNI has a responsibility to set an example that serves as a deterrent to other stations and other individuals from behaving in a way that undermines this country that we all love so much and this country that we will all want to see grow,” Dr. Aning added.

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