Dauda Mohammed Nazir, one of the alleged rioters at the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Cape Coast Youth and Women Congress, was scheduled to be sentenced yesterday, but that decision has been rescinded by the trial court.
Out of the four counts of prohibition of vigilante groups and activities leveled against him, the accused, earlier pleaded guilty to the second count, which particulars of the offence were that on December 10, 2022, in Cape Coast, Dauda, together with the others, armed themselves with offensive weapons and acting in concert, resorted to the use of violence to further their interests as members of the NDC.
The Accra Circuit Court, presided over by His Honour Samuel Bright Acquah, rescinded the decision to sentence the accused, after having set aside the latter’s guilty simplicita plea.
The court’s latest decision was based on the fact that Dauda, who is standing trial with Abdul Halid Shaibu alias Olu, and Razak Ibrahim alias Oga, prior to his guilty plea, did not have a counsel, and was also challenged by a language barrier.
His Honour added that the latest decision would not cause any injuries to the prosecution, since they had informed the court that they had video evidence of the incident which took place in the Central Regional capital to prove their case.
Mr. Acquah ordered that Duada’s plea should be retaken, and after the facts were once again read to him, pleaded not guilty, which, therefore, went to add that he had pleaded not guilty to all the four counts.
The other accused persons – Shaibu and Abrahim – are facing two counts, but have all pleaded not guilty to the offences brought up against them by the prosecution.
Nonetheless, the court stated that it would not set aside all that had happened in the court, since the inception of the case.
Mr. Acquah also granted all the accused persons bail to a tune of GH¢150,000.00, with two sureties who are civil servants, earning a monthly salary each of not less than GH¢2,000.00, and ordered them to report twice to the police every week.
George Opare Addo, National Youth Organiser, and his contender, Brogya Gemfi, were also present at the court.
The court was informed by the prosecutor, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Sylvester Asare, that the accused persons are believed to be members of a vigilante groups operating within the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
According to him, on December 10, 2022, the police received a report of violent disturbances at the NDC’s National Youth and Women’s Congress held in the Central Regional capital, Cape Coast.
He informed the court that upon receipt of the report, the police commenced an investigation into the matter, in which video footages of the Congress viewed during the process uncovered 16 people, including the accused persons, engaged in violence.
The court was told that a police investigation established that while proceedings were ongoing at the Congress, two rival vigilante groups violently clashed, amid the throwing of stones, blocks, and clubs among others, causing injuries to some persons and destruction of properties.
“Further investigation had that [the] 1st (Abdul Halid Shaibu) and 2nd (Razak Ibrahim alias Oga) accused persons and others at large worked for and in furtherance of their own interests, and that of George Opare Addo @ Pablo as the National Youth Organiser of the NDC,” he alleged.
He added that it was also established that Dauda and others at large acted for themselves, and that of Hannah Bissiw and Brogya Gyemfi.
DSP Asare narrated to the court that Shaibu, Ibrahim and others at large were transported from Tamale to Cape Coast to engage in vigilante activities to further the interests of George Opare Addo to win the election.
The prosecutor stated that the accused persons and others at large were given GH¢50.00 each as pocket money, saying: “On same 9th December, 2022, suspect Jango, currently in police custody, organised the rival group, including 3rd [accused person], from Berekum and its environs to further the interests of Hon. Hannah Bissiw and Brogya Gyamfi to win their respective position[s].”
Giving details and account of events, he indicated that police investigation also revealed that the accused persons herein, and others at large, were lodged in separate hotels in Cape Coast and fed.
On December 10, 2022, whilst the Congress was ongoing, the vigilante rival groups, without any provocation, but to further the interests of their respective candidates, resorted to the use of violence, threats and intimidation, which injured some people.
The prosecutor intimated that “some members of the opposing factions involved in the fight got injured and rushed to the hospital for treatment. It was also established that Al and A2 were paid GH¢250.00 each for their services as vigilantes at the Congress for George Opare Addo.
“Thus, A3 and his accomplices also received GH¢200.00 each for their services as vigilantes at the Congress for Brogya Gyemfi and Hannah Bissiw.”
He added that Shaibu and Ibrahim were arrested from their hideouts at Tamale on January 6, 2023, and brought to Accra for investigation.
Dauda Mohammed Nazir was arrested on January 8 at Kintampo.
The court was told that all the accused persons admitted the offence during interrogation.