Mustapha Hamid calls for reforms in BNI operations

Spokesperson for the opposition New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) Presidential Candidate, Mustapha Hamid, has charged Ghanaians to trigger a debate that will lead to reforms in the operations of the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI). According to him, the BNI does not seem to comprehend its mandate, saying they have become a tool in the hands of an incumbent government to manhandle opposition members and critics of the government.

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wpid-wpid-s200mustaphaabdul-hamid.jpgIn the past two months, the BNI has been involved in a number of controversial detentions of individuals tied to the NPP.

Notably, the head of Nana Addo’s security team was held by the BNI for five days for his alleged role in the invitation of the three ex-police officers from South Africa. His lawyers claim his rights were abused during the period of detention. The BNI also detained one Dr. Edmund Ayo Ani for allegedly circulating photos of Mahindra vehicles, branded in National Democratic Congress (NDC) colours which were supposedly procured for the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE).

In the latest incident, the BNI detained the personal photographer and private bodyguard of the NPP flagbearer because according to the party, they refused to fill ‘Personality profile’ forms at the Bureau. BNI afraid of government Mr. Hamid is of the view that these incidents are proof of the fact the BNI has lost track of its mandate, adding that they are under government’s control.

Speaking on Citi Eyewitness News, he said, “Some BNI people have told lawyers I have spoken to that when these powers-that-be incite them to do things, even though they know it is wrong, because they do not have security of tenure and their appointments are at the whims and caprices of those in power, they are afraid and they go along so they can protect their jobs.”

Citizens must show anger The anger of Ghanaians towards the BNI is necessary according to Mr. Hamid, since in his view, anybody at all the security agency embodies a slide towards authoritarian governance. He thus urged a public debate about the role of the BNI saying, “If we want to consolidate our democracy, we have to have a public debate about the role of the BNI in our affairs… It is important that the Ghanaian people show anger at this slide towards authoritarian governance.

Mr. Hamid expressed hope that a Nana Addo led government would ensure the BNI stuck to its core mandate. He however added that checking the BNI shouldn’t be left in the hands of a president hence the need for the citizens to spark a debate. “We shouldn’t leave it the hands of a sane president to want to do the right thing because we cannot always guarantee that we will have sane presidents. That is why I am saying that the public itself should begin a debate now that will get the BNI to do the right thing irrespective of who becomes president.”

Source: Delali Adogla-Bessa/citifmonline.com

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