Says Andani Youth

.
BY Alhassan M. Murtala- TAMALE

The Andani Youth Association as on the occasion of
the tenth anniversary memorial press Conference described the murder of the
late Yaa Naa Yakubu Andani as a monumental crime to be swept under the
carpet.

In a press conference organized in memory of the
late king of Dagbon, the group descended heavily on the Northern MP’S who used
the unfortunate death of the Yaa Naa to campaign to parliament with the promise
of using their parliamentary positions to defend and fight for justice for the
Andani family.

According to the group, though the ultimate
responsibility for the apparent reluctance to fulfill the promise to deliver
justice to the Andani family lies with the NDC, it is the MP’S who should
shoulder the bulk of the blame.

‘’If they had taken the Andani cry for justice
seriously, if they had asked the relevant questions at the appropriate time,
the state prosecutors would dare not have adopted such a half-hearted and
lackadaisical approach to the investigations and subsequent prosecution of the
case’’ Mr. Abubakar Alhassan, the spokes person said.
Below is the full Press Statement by the Andani
Youth Association.
PRESS CONFERENCE BY THE
ANDANI YOUTH ASSOCIATION ON THE OCCASION OF THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF THE MURDER
OF YAA-NAA YAKUBU ANDANI II AND FORTY MEMBERS OF HIS RETINUE: MARCH 27, 2012

Ladies and Gentlemen of the
media; first of all we would like to thank you for responding to our invitation
to attend this press conference.
It has
been ten long years since the murder of Yaa-Naa Yakubu Andani II and scores of
members of his retinue. It is possible therefore that this time lapse may have
made the facts surrounding these crimes to recede into the passive memory of
the public. We of the Andani Youth Association, therefore, deem it necessary to
take advantage of the opportunity offered by this tenth anniversary to refresh
the memory of the public on the events of March 27, 2002.
The murder of Yaa-Naa Yakubu
Andani II was the climax of a three-day armed assault on the Gbewaa Palace –
the official residence of the Yaa-Naa and focal point of over six hundred years
of Dagbon history, tradition and culture. About forty other innocent people
perished with the Yaa-Naa. Not satisfied that they had killed him, the
assailants dragged his body to the palace square, chopped off his right arm,
decapitated him and set fire to what was left of the body. The palace was
reduced to ruins and several other houses were burnt and valuable items
including royal regalia were looted.
Evidence
abounds to support the claim that the murder of the Yaa-Naa was politically
motivated. It was the consequence of a plot to fulfill an electoral promise the
NPP had made to some extremist elements of the Abudu gate. That promise
bordered on the performance of the outstanding funeral of Mahamadu Abdulai who
had been improperly enskinned as Yaa-Naa by the Progress Party government in 1969,
and who died out of office in 1986. This confession
albeit inadvertent, was made by Ms Elizabeth Ohene, then Minister of State in
the Office of the President, on the Front Page programme of Joy FM on
Friday 29 March, 2002. In this particular programme she made comments to the
effect that the NPP had previously promised to assist the extremist elements in
the Abudu family to perform the funeral of the said Mahamadu Abdulai. She went
on to say that in order to have performed that funeral, Yaa-Naa Yakubu Andani
II would have had to vacate the Gbewaa Palace. Apparently the attack on the
Palace from March 25th to 27th was to forcibly evict
Yaa-Naa Yakubu Andani II since the latter would not have vacated the palace as
this was contrary to Dagbon custom and tradition.
In a
radio and television broadcast to the nation in the aftermath of that murderous
operation, then President Kufuor made a solemn promise to ensure that the
perpetrators of what he himself described as a “heinous crime” would be
apprehended and brought to justice. Ladies and gentlemen! As you all know, up
to the time of leaving office, President Kufuor did not fulfill that promise.
This was
in spite of the fact that on taking the presidential oath at his inauguration
in January 2001, he swore, among other things, to dedicate himself “to
the service and well-being of the people of the Republic of Ghana and to do
right to all manner of persons.” Yet then President Kufuor did not only
fail to invoke the powers invested in him as President to protect life and
property, but actually sat by and watched as state security institutions were
used by the political leadership of the Abudu gate to perpetrate the largest
single massacre of innocent civilians in peace time in Ghana under a democratic
regime.
The
response of the NPP administration was the unscrupulous whitewashing of this
monumental crime through the largely discredited Wuaku Commission and the
subsequent phony trial which was deliberately skewed in order to avoid a
conviction.
In the
same vein we of the Andani Youth Association also feel highly betrayed by the
way and manner the NDC exploited the murder of the Yaa-Naa in order to bolster
its electoral fortunes by promising in its manifesto to deliver justice to the
Andani family when voted into power. Because of this promise, friends and
sympathizers of the Andani family, who constitute the overwhelming majority of
the people of Dagbon, trooped to the NDC and voted for it en masse and thus
contributed significantly to the Party’s electoral victory at the 2008 elections.
Ladies
and Gentlemen, as you may be aware, when the NDC came to power it took a lot of
prompting and pressure from a section of the Andani family to remind the Party
of its electoral promise to the family and the people of Dagbon. Thereafter
when the Office of the Attorney General eventually commenced the process of
investigations, it was clear that the state prosecutors were not interested in
getting to the bottom of the matter in order to establish the actual levels of
culpability of all those who were directly or indirectly involved in this
heinous crime. And we would demonstrate with evidence that the state
prosecution had no interest in securing any convictions in this matter. Indeed
the entire process of prosecution was set up to ensure that it would fail. And
it did.
The prosecutions reluctance to gather the full
complement of evidence
It is very strange that the evidence and
information that the state prosecutors gathered for the case came almost
entirely from the surviving members of the late Yaa-Naa’s retinue most of who
were massacred during the armed attack on the Gbewaa Palace. The case was being
heard more than eight years after those traumatic events, and the victims who
were fleeing the scene of the armed attack in panic and barely escaping with
their lives were being asked by the state prosecutors to recollect and
reconstruct the traumatic events in sufficient detail as they witnessed them.
Incredibly this was the only information that the state prosecutors relied in
their lackadaisical attempt to secure conviction in a murder case. This is
unbelievable!
Suppression of vital sources of evidence:
The murder of the Yaa-Naa and
dozens of others took place in broad day light, and in the full glare of the
public including all the security agencies in Yendi, namely the Police, BNI
officials, Prison Warders, Fire Service personnel and CEPS officers. And
according to the Tamale Municipal Chief Executive and Acting Chairman of the
REGSEC at the time Mr. Iddrisu Adam, on March 26, 2002, not less than 90
policemen and 62 soldiers comprising 60 men and two officers were dispatched to
Yendi ostensibly to give protection to the Yaa-Naa and to save life and
property. We were then asked to believe that despite this meticulous response,
the Yaa-Naa was murdered the following morning Wednesday March 27, 2002.
The question we would like to
reiterate on this tenth anniversary of that monumental crime is: Why did the
state prosecutors not invite even one police personnel, a soldier, a prisons
officer, a CEPS official or the BNI officer who was in charge of the area to
give evidence? We ask this question because obviously the security agencies
such as the Police, BNI, and the military at the district, regional and
national levels would have prepared or received written reports of the events
in question. We ask again: why did the state prosecutors not ask for such
reports?
A Chief Superintendent of
Police, now an Assistant Commissioner of Police was put in charge of the
investigation into the murders and arson. It is indeed very strange that the
state prosecutors did not deem it necessary to invite him or the several police
officers who assisted him to give evidence concerning their investigation and
their findings. The question again is – WHY?
It is also on record that it
was from the home of one self-styled Bolin Lana, Abdulai Mahamadu, that the
murderers launched the assault on the Gbewaa Palace. This particular individual
claimed at the Wuaku Commission that it was he who gave orders for the attack
on the Gbewaa Palace to commence. For the three days that the attack was in
progress, this Abdulai Mahamadu was the hub around which the murders were
organized. It was also disclosed at the Wuaku Commission that the murderers
mounted the severed head of the Yaa-Naa on a spear, and took it to the house of
this Abdulai Mahamadu where he sat in state and received it. In spite of all
these facts, the state prosecutors chose not to question this Abdulai Mahamadu
who is clearly a suspect. We ask again –WHY?
Ignoring
the possible roles of former NPP government officials by the state prosecutors
In all societies governed by
law, it is the responsibility of the government to protect all its citizens.
Specific officers are assigned this responsibility, and those in charge are
held accountable for any dereliction of duty.
It is a matter of public
record, both nationally and internationally, that while the unprovoked attack
on the Yaa-Naa’ palace was going on, and the armed security personnel refused
to protect lives and property, Mr. Malik Alhassan Yakubu, who was at the time
Minister of Interior and Member of Parliament for Yendi was heard on national
and international radio saying that Yendi was calm, and that government was in
firm control of the situation. He branded those who presented evidence to the
contrary as mischief makers. This was even after a telephone call from the
secretary to the Yaa-Naa was broadcast live on an Accra FM station on Monday,
25 March 2002 confirming that the Yaa-Naa was under attack, and listeners could
even hear the sound of gunfire in the background. As then Minister of Interior
and Member of Parliament for Yendi – the scene of the attack – he had the real
facts of the situation. Why therefore was he lying? Yet the state prosecutors
did not deem it fit to invite Mr. Malik Alhassan Yakubu for questioning. Once
again the question is WHY? Also, why was Ms Elizabeth Ohene who made that
confession on radio about the NPP’s electoral promise to the Abudus not invited
to give evidence?
Severance
of telephone links to Yendi
Military experts will confirm
that in the process of any military assault, communication systems are among
the first targets of attack. This was exactly what happened during the
three-day armed assault on the Gbewaa Palace leading to the murder of the
Yaa-Naa. The then Ghana Telecom telephone lines to and from Yendi were
completely cut effectively isolating the target area from the rest of the
country and the world. It is important to note that this development came soon
after the secretary to the Yaa-Naa had granted the telephone interview to the
Accra FM station alluded to earlier. We would like to remind the audience that
as at the year 2002 Yendi did not have mobile telephony. Later investigations
revealed that there were no technical faults with the Yendi lines during that
period in question. And since the authorities of the then Ghana Telecom could
not by themselves have taken such a sensitive decision without reference to ah
higher authority, we had expected the state prosecutors to be interested in
unraveling this very strange occurrence, and also to find out why telephone
communication to Yendi was restored immediately after the Yaa-Naa had been
murdered. The question once again is: Why did the state prosecutors ignore this
very vital piece of evidence?
What the
NPP government new about the attack and when
At the
Wuaku Commission Major (Rtd) Abubakar Sulemana testified that when he learnt
about the shootings in Yendi in the morning of 25 March, 2002 he went to inform
Lt. General (Rtd) Joshua Hamidu, then National Security Advisor, who confirmed
to him that government (and I repeat –
government), was aware of what was going on. This was further evidence that
the carnage in Yendi was facilitated by the NPP government.
Also
according to the evidence given by the then Tamale Municipal Chief Executive at
the Wuaku Commission, the Regional Security Council (REGSEC) was not even aware
that the Yaa-Naa had been killed as at 4.00 PM on Wednesday 27 March, 2002. But
Major (Rtd) Sulemana testified that he saw a security report in the office of
the then National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. (Rtd) Joshua Hamidu in the morning
of Wednesday 27 March, 2002 detailing that the Yaa-Naa had been killed.
If the
topmost security body in the Region did not know of the death of the Yaa-Naa
even in the afternoon of that fateful Wednesday at a time it was already dead
news in the office of the National Security Advisor in Accra, could it have
been that the then National Security Advisor was dealing directly with Yendi and
was monitoring the progress of the assault from his office? Yet the authorities
claimed that they had adhered rigorously to the chain of command involving the
district, regional, and national outfits in that order. Once again we pose the
question: why did the state prosecutors not invite the then National Security
Advisor Lt. Gen. (Rtd) Joshua Hamidu for questioning?

The unpardonable silence of the so-called
Andani Members of Parliament
In all
these developments, much of the buck stops at the doorstep of our elected
Members of Parliament. Their silence inside and outside parliament over the
question for justice for the Andani family has been most exasperating. Ladies
and gentlemen! I would like to emphasize the point that except for one or two
Members of Parliament from the Dagbon area, all the others rode on the back of
the popular anger arising from the murder Yaa-Naa Yakubu Andani II to get
elected into parliament with the promise that they would use their
parliamentary positions to fight for justice for the Andani family. We of the
Andani family did not ask them further questions. We simply went out and voted
massively for them, even if the loyalty of some of them to the Andani cause
was, and still is questionable. We just voted blindly to the extent that our
MPs have now taken us so much for granted that one of them had the effrontery
to declare on national television that he did not need to come home and
campaign in order to retain his seat. He is sure he would always win the
election.
We still
remember how the NDC leadership in Dagbon used to boast that even if they put
up a piece of stalk for election in Dagbon, that piece of stalk would win. It
is true that things have changed and they dare not exploit the murder of the
Yaa-Naa as they did in the past, but they have a new strategy. They have grown
so filthy rich from the wealth they have accumulated from their official
positions that they believe they can come and sprinkle money at us like one
would throw grains at hungry fowls.
Though
the ultimate responsibility for the apparent reluctance to fulfill the promise
to deliver justice to the Andani family lies with the NDC, it is our MPs who
should shoulder the bulk of the blame. If they had taken the Andani cry for justice
seriously, if they had asked
the relevant questions at the appropriate time, the state prosecutors would
dare not have adopted such a half-hearted and lackadaisical approach to the
investigations and subsequent prosecution of the case.
Conclusion
In the
light of all these developments we of the Andani Youth Association call on
government to live up to its promise to ensure that those who murdered Yaa-Naa
Yakubu Andani II and the other members of his retinue on 27 March, 2002 are
apprehended and made to answer for their crimes. We have taken note of the
renewed promise in this direction that His Excellency President John Evans Atta
Mills made during his last visit to Tamale. We would wish that he would back
his words with action. We on our part are always willing to assist in whatever
way possible to ensure that justice is achieved for the Andani family. The
murder of Yaa-Naa Yakubu Andani II is too monumental a crime to be swept under
the carpet. And on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of that tragedy, we of
the Andani Youth Association reiterate our commitments to peace, but we wish to
add that enduring peace can only be anchored on justice.

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