18-year-old Agbolosu Pearl feels pains in her breast. Other parts of her body including her left eye and ear trigger the same pain effect after allegedly being beaten by a Ghanaian immigration officer.
Seeking Justice: Inside story of the 18-year-old brutalised at the Ghana-Togo border
ACCRA, GHANA: Pearl Agbolosu and her brother say they do not have the influence to pursue the justice that they need and calling on human right organisations to help. This is their story.
Her ordeal does not end there as she described the mental agony and psychological trauma she has had to deal with from the unpleasant experience.
Miss Agbolosu is a Ghanaians who schools in Togo but stays at Denu, Ketu South in the Volta Region of Ghana.
When coronavirus COVID-19 precautionary measures started making waves across the African continent, schools had to close in Togo. So, Pearl returned home.
The situation was no different in Ghana where students had to go home too. Ghana, however, went a step further to close its borders as the West African country dealt with cases that had already been recorded internally.
In March 2020, the president of Ghana, HE Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo announced that the country’s international land, air and sea borders would be closed to human traffic for two weeks effective March 21. The closure was extended periodically until May 31 where Ghana’s president extended it for an indefinite time “until further notice.” The movement inside and outside the Togo borders and all other entry points to Ghana had been restricted.
Pearl got a notice from her school in Togo that students had to come in for their final exams. Knowing that the borders had been closed, she and her brother tried to find a way to get her to school for her final exams. They tried the main border twice but there was no way. Then, they got information that there was a way around the Segbe border. With the help of her brother, they set out to get her to school.
“I am a final year student. During the period of COVID-19, we were asked to stay at home. They later called us to come to school for our final exams,” Pearl told Pulse.com.gh.
“We went to the main border but there was no way there for two days. Then I got information that there is a way at Segbe side,” she continued.
Pearl and his brother had crossed the Ghana side of the border when an immigration officer came from behind them and started beating them.
“I passed by Ghana’s side and was on no man’s land before one immigration officer started beating me. I didn’t know why,” she recalled.
She was not alone as her brother was also beaten.
“When we passed the Ghana Immigration and got to the Togo Immigration, I heard someone call me from behind so I stopped,” 36-year-old James Kwetey narrated.
“He rushed at me, didn’t ask where I was going and started beating me and my sister,” James told Pulse Ghana as he showed marks on his skin to back his point.
Knowing the process of pursuing for justice in Ghana, James and his sister Pearl went to report the case at the police station where they were given a medical form to visit the hospital.
But an opinion from a police commanding officer left them in doubt of pursuing the case of their brutality to avoid being prosecuted for breaking the law.
“When we reported the case to the police, they gave us a medical form. I went to the hospital and gave them the medical report. Afterwards, they asked me to bring some details of the beating. I gave them that too,” 18-year-old Pearl continued her story to Pulse Ghana.
“They invited the immigration office and I. When I went to the commanding officer, he said that I tried to cross the border when the government said no one should cross. He said if I go to court, there’ll be a case against me that I tried to break the law,” she added.
Since late June of 2020 when the case started, there has been no significant progress as Pearl and his brother James allege the Chief Inspector William Deafamekpor who is in charge of the case is supposedly not pursuing it.
However, she wants to make sure no girl child goes through the ordeal she went through and that is why she is seeking justice.
“Justice for the girl child is what I want,” Pearl tells Pulse.com.gh.
“A girl child abused and molested anywhere. A girl child molested here in Ghana. In Ghana, money talks. But as you can see, I don’t have that kind of money to take the matter to court. But I believe in one thing, justice. That is the only way what happened to me will not happen to any other girl child.”
James is also asking for international human right organisations to help him, “a poor boy from a poor family who has no helper” and his sister to get the justice that they need.
Pulse Ghana reached out to Chief Inspector William Deafamekpor for his comments. He said he was not the person in charge and was not the investigator in the case.
Asked if he could help with the contact of the investigator he responded saying:
“Whoever gave you my number should give you my boss’ number. I am not the investigator in the case. I am not handling any case of that sort.”
Pulse Ghana has reached out to other contacts for further details and will update once there is feedback.
Paramount Chief of Aflao Traditional Area, Togbe Fiti Adzongagaga V in June expressed his displeasure with the security tension in the area, condemning the action of the military men that were deployed in the area.
According to the Chief Executive for the Ketu South Municipality, Elliot Agbenorwu, the intensified security measures was to aid in the compliance of the President's orders regarding entry at the Ghana-Togo border as some individuals continued to aid persons into the country through unapproved routes.
“The initial cases of COVID-19 recorded in the Municipality were all foreigners who were intercepted by the security officials via these porous unapproved routes,” Elliot Agbenorwu said.
"It is in our interest to be safe and in good health to ply our trade in tranquillity hence the presence of the military and other security officials.”
However, some residents at Ketu South have different opinions claiming the military men were deployed to intimate people ahead of the voter registration by the Electoral Commission of Ghana for the 2020 general elections.
This story was originally submitted via an anymous journalist on TruthIsNow.org and subsequently covered by the Editorial Team of Pulse Ghana.
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