Graphic reporter attacked, arrested at Badu Kobi’s church
A reporter with the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL), Ms Della Russell Ocloo, on Sunday escaped being physically attacked by some agitated members of the Glorious Way Church owned by Prophet Badu Kobi at Sakumono.
Unable to physically attack her for what they described as ‘intrusion’, the members of the church accousted the reporter, threatened to beat her and later called in the police who surprisingly arrested her and sent her to the police station.
Ms Ocloo, the Tema reporter of GCGL, went to the church Sunday, August 4, 2019 as a follow up to a protest march by members of the 1000 Women’s March in a bid to find out the church leader’s reaction to the women’s peaceful demonstration against his controversial comment about Asante, Fante and Ewe women and how they behave in marriages.
Ms Ocloo decided to sit through the church service and at a point found that some members as a sign of reverence, were not only bowing down to the prophet, but touching his shoes for blessings, and thus decided to record.
While at the church, Ms Ocloo decided to stay and see if the Prophet will react to the issues and the demonstration.
While there, the Prophet reacted and made references to tribes.
After preaching, Prophet Kobi walked through the aisle and put his hands on people.
In the process, majority of the people knelt and held his shoes while he blessed them.
So, Ms Ocloo decided to record it because she found that fascinating.
She was spotted by one of the men, whose name she could get as Amofa, apparently part of the security detail of the church leader.
He walked her out of the auditorium and when they got outside, asked her to delete the video but just when she was about to do so, their interactions attracted other members of the church and about 15 men reportedly surrounded her.
Narrating the experience as traumatising, Ms Ocloo said, the men made gestures at her claiming that they were Zongo boys and would not hesitate to beat her up if she did not delete the video.
“I got scared and was shaking and it got really frightening as in no time, some women had also joined the group, it was literally turning into a mob.
“One woman actually brought out a baton with a nail on it and said: ‘Ah, she is alone, even if we hurt her, no one will know about it. Let’s terrify her to send that as a warning to the others’.”
She said she was, however, saved by a man who said he was a national security operative who approached her and asked for her identity card (ID). Having verified her identity, the man also asked her to delete the video.
However, before she could do that, Amofa who had earlier left the scene, returned with two policemen he had brought to effect her arrest.
According to the reporter, the policemen from the Sakumono Police Station tried to handcuff her, but she volunteered to walk to their car herself. On her way to the car, the women who had earlier threatened her also walked towards her.
“I was fortunate as I managed to get to the police pickup vehicle with the two policemen, one wielding an assault rifle, while the other was driving the car. The one holding the riffle requested that I hand over my phone, to which I asked whether I was under arrest.”
She said the policeman became furious and retorted: “when you are with the police, do you think we are joking? Hand over the phone and stop asking questions.”
According to the reporter, she refused to hand over the mobile phone, insisting she would only do so when she had been informed that she was under arrest.
“The policeman with the riffle stretched his hand from the front to snatch my handbag, but I held on to it firmly. The one driving then parked the car, got out, came to where I was sitting, opened the door and held my hands amidst struggling. The two officers then manhandled me and succeeded in taking my phone.
“The policeman subsequently drove out of the compound amidst resistance from the church members, who initially dropped a metal bar at the entrance of the church compound to prevent the police vehicle from moving out.
At the police station
“When we finally got to the Sakumono police station, the station officer requested access to my phone and the video which I declined. He then asked whether I had permission to go and film the church service? I declined comment, insisting I will only comment at the presence of a lawyer.
He kept interrogating me but I responded that, I would only speak when I had a legal representative, she revealed.
Ms Ocloo further indicated that angered by her stance, the station officer requested that she be placed at counter-back so that they could call the Batsonaa Division to pick her up and detain her.
“Behind the counter, the officer, Prince, again made a request for my statement which I declined. I then asked him to call my husband, to which he said, “I am busy. Let me finish what I’m doing first”.
She also said on the insistence from Amofa, her bag was searched without her consent and later, an investigator, Sergeant Foster, was detailed to interrogate her.
“At this point, I realised the intentions of the police so I insisted on a legal representation and the investigator then gave me his phone from which I placed a call first to my husband, who then came in with a friend, Mrs Angela Agbotse, who advised that I write my statement.
“After I had written my statement and calls from the office came in, the police then handed back to my seized phone and about 2:45 p.m. released me to go home,” she said.
Ms Ocloo said apart from the psychological trauma she went through, not just at the hands of the church members but also the two policemen who took her to the police station, she felt pains in her left wrist where the men and the police both tried to wrestle her phone from her before she was sent to the police station.
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