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Occupy Jubilee House Demo: Accra regional police command did no wrong says COP Gariba

COP Gariba says the director general, operations and POMAB led the command at the national level so the regional command cannot be blamed

The Greater Accra Regional Police commander, Commissioner of Police (COP) Sayibu Pabi Gariba has defended the actions of his officers before, during and after the 21 September 2023 demonstration organised by Democracy Hub, noting that the entire operation was under the command of national operations and the top hierarchy of the police service. The Greater Accra regional police command according to COP Gariba, only supported the operations and so it cannot be blamed for any lapses.

COP Pabi Gariba made his position clear in a 22-page response to a query directed at him and signed by the director general in charge of administration at the Ghana Police Service, COP Christian Tetteh Yohuno and dated Monday 25 September 2023.

In his response dated Tuesday 26 September 2023, COP Pabi Gariba by way of his background stated that “on the 21s August, 2023 Democracy Hub, a Civil Society Organization wrote to the Accra Regional Police Command notifying the Command of its intention to picket at the Jubilee House on the 21 September 2023 from 6am in the morning to 5pm in the afternoon themed “Occupy Julorbi House”.

“According to their letter, they intended to assemble at 37 Trotro Station, and then process to the forecourt of the Jubilee House where they would picket during the entire period”.

Action taken

COP Gariba in answer to the query, stated that “upon receipt of the notification on the 21 August 2023, the Command notified the Police administration through letter Number ARHQ. 84/Vol.20/105 and dated 31 August 2023 for their information and necessary action.

The command further invited the demonstrators to a meeting at the Regional Headquarters to discuss the matters arising as a result of their notice of intention to protest.

“On the 1 September 2023 the organizers at a meeting with the Command were informed to relocate the destination of their intended picketing due to security concerns and the fact that the Jubilee House is a security zone. They were therefore advised to review their route and destination point and then come back for further discussions with the Command”.

Public order act

Section 1(5) of the Public Order Act, 1994 (Act 491) according to COP Gariba, stipulates that; “An organizer requested under subsection (4) to postpone or relocate the holding of a special event shall within forty-eight hours of the request, notify the Police Officer in writing of his willingness to comply.”

However, the demonstrators COP Gariba said in his response, “failed to notify the Command within 48hours of their unwillingness to comply with the request to relocate as stipulated by law causing the Accra Regional Police Command to consider their notice, null and void.

“On the 4 September 2023, after the expiration of the forty-eight hours provided by law, Democracy Hub once again wrote to the Command indicating their unwillingness to comply with the Command’s directives. It is important to stress that they were again invited for a meeting with the intention to warn them to desist from embarking on the said picketing since it would be in violation of the law” COP Gariba’s answer to the query read.

“On the 18th of September, 2023 they appeared for the meeting where it was made clear to the group that Police could not sanction their request as a result of their failure to adhere to the Public Order Act, 1994 (ACT 491), amidst security concerns including the constraints placed on the Command as a result of the Electoral Registration Exercise being conducted nationwide by the Electoral Commission of Ghana” it further read.

Court action

After the meeting with Democracy Hub on the 18 September 2023, COP Gariba goes on to explain that “the Command initiated a court action to prohibit the demonstrators who appeared adamant to calls for them to relocate and postpone the demonstration.

“On 19 September 2023, an application to prohibit the demonstrators was fled and served on the lawyers of Democracy Hub, Atuguba and Associates through the directives of the protestors which said service was proved by the court bailiff and placed on court record”.


COP Gariba in his answer noted that “on the 20 September 2023, when it became evident that Democracy Hub was bent on proceeding with the demonstration, the Regional Police Command planned and mobilized four hundred and sixty (460) personnel to Police any emergency in line with the Democracy Hub’s intention to demonstrate and picket at the Jubilee House.

“Notwithstanding the above, the Police Management Board chaired by COP Christian Tetteh Yohuno invited the deputy regional commander, DCOP Henry Kodjo Otoo to a planning meeting of the same operations that was to be taken over by the operations directorate at the national headquarters.

“It is worth stressing that, this meeting was done at a time when the regional commander had been directed to facilitate a course at the High-Risk Operational Training Center (HROTC), Akyeremanteng / ER” COP Gariba wrote in his response.

“In line with the directives of Director General/Administration which said directives, I confirmed from Director General/Operations, COP/Mr. Mohammed Fuseini Suraj, a signal was issued by the latter on 20 September 2023 taking over the operations and requesting for men from the various operational units” he further pointed out.

Command and control

On the issue of command and control, COP Gariba stated in his answer to the query that “on the day in question (21 September), the national headquarters took over the whole operations, hence the arrest of the forty- nine (49) protestors on the first day of the unlawful picketing was not unilaterally done by the Accra Regional Police Command but done in consonance with POMAB which took a decision during a conference call in the evening of Wednesday the 20 September 2023.

He goes on to state that the said meeting was chaired by “Director General /Administration, COP/Mr. Christian Tetteh Yohuno with Director General/NPD, COP/Mr Paul Manly Awini, Director General/Welfare COP/Mrs Habiba Twumasi Sarpong, Director General/MTTD, COP/Mr Francis Ebenezer Doku, Director General/Operations, COP/Mr Mohammed Fuselini Suraiji, Director Genera/PID, DCOP/Mr Fredrick Agyei and Accra Regional Commander, COP/Dr Sayibu Pabi Gariba on the line.

“It was at this meeting that, the Director Genera/MTTD asked what was to be done to persons who would turn up to demonstrate, to which it was agreed that they should be rooted immediately they attempted to assemble” COP Gariba’s response read.

“During the course of the demonstration, Command and Control in all was virtually taken over by POMAB whereby Director General/Administration was on radio issuing instructions to Director General/Operations and Accra Regional Commander, a situation depicting that POMAB had taken over the operations without recourse to the Regional Commander.

“In effect, the constant directives and instructions given on both radio and phone to the Regional Commander whilst on the field made Command and Control totally convoluted and ineffective” COP Gariba further stated in his answer to the query.

No wrong done

In conclusion, COP Gariba stated that “the Accra Regional Police Command wish to reiterate that it has done nothing untoward regarding adherence of Public Order Management protocols before, during and after the demonstration on the 21 September 2023 since the Command was not in charge of the command and control of the operations as stated earlier.

The Police administration through POMAB directed national operations to take over and duly executed this directive in line with periodic instructions from Director General/Administration which were received and implemented during the pendency of the demonstration.

“In line with laid down procedure, the Command informed Police administration of the intention of Democracy Hub to picket at the Jubilee House via a letter dated 31 August 2023, but received no directives until the 19 September 2023 when they directed national operations to take over the conduct of the demonstration.

“From the above, it is the submission of Accra Regional Police Command that since the conduct of the demonstration was taken over as alluded to above with regards to orders and counter orders from Director General/Administration and Director General/Operations, the Command can therefore not be held responsible for shortfalls that occurred with regards to Public Order Management protocols before and during the demonstration on 21st September, 2023” COP Gariba’s query read in conclusion.

Reporting by Wilberforce Asare in Accra

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