The Nigerian community in Ghana has offered to assist police to find the missing Takoradi girls by speaking to the key suspect, a Nigerian identified as Samuel Udotek Willis.
The Igbo King of the Nigerian Community in Ghana, His Royal Majesty Chukwudi Jude Ihenetu and Leader of the Ghana Chapter of Nigerians in the Diaspora, Ogbonna Kaycey, said Tuesday that many attempts to meet Samuel have been unsuccessful.
Ogbonna Kaycey believes the community “can deal with [the suspect]” who some reports have suggested has led police on a wild goose chase to locate three girls who went missing in the Western Region capital since last year.
“Your Majesty [Chukwudi Jude Ihenetu] has made attempts [to meet criminals said to be Nigerians]. Even in the case of the suspect in Takoradi. There was a time we were so angry in the community; there was a time the guy was tossing the authorities up and down and the community was so angry and people were expressing anger; ‘show us this idiot, let’s deal with him,’” Mr Kaycey said on PM Express, Tuesday evening.
Nigerians are battling negative public perception following the involvement of persons believed to be Nigerians in many high-profile kidnappings and other crimes in Ghana.
Security analysts have also pointed to an influx of Nigerian-style crimes in Ghana in recent times.
For instance, the most crucial case in the wave of kidnappings that have gripped Ghana is the one involving Samuel Udotek Willis, who is being held by Ghana police over his involvement in the suspected kidnapping of the three girls in 2018. The girls are yet to be found.
The police are also on a manhunt for three Nigerians linked to the kidnapping of the Consular-General and Head of Mission of Estonia to Ghana, Nabil Makram Basbous, in April 2019 in Accra who was later rescued by police.
The Police in Kasoa in the Central Region also arrested three Nigerians over the kidnap and murder of a two-year-old boy last April.
At a press conference in April, the Police CID revealed it had arrested a two-man Nigerian gang who have confessed to at least 11 armed robberies, a spree that included raping their victims before bolting with cash worth more than two million cedis.
In the latest episode of kidnapping, National Security operatives engaged the Nigerians in a gun battle before overpowering the suspects holding two Canadian ladies.
However, despite these incidents, Mr Kaycey said on PM Express, a current affairs programme on the Joy News channel on MultiTV that many Nigerians living in Ghana are helping to improve the country’s economy.
“We are law abiding citizens. Engage us,” Ogbonna Kaycey appealed to the media and the police on PM Express.
“I am aware that in other nations when a crime is committed and a foreigner is arrested, he is meant to be identified by his people to confirm that this is a citizen of our country but nothing like that has been done,” he added.
He said this was important because it is very likely that sometimes the criminals might not be a Nigerians, but may be holding themselves up as such only to give them a bad name.
His Royal Majesty Chukwudi Jude Ihenetu also appealed to Nigerians in Ghana to make contact with the leaders of the Nigerian community for recognition and assistance when the need arises.
The Founder and Leader of the Glorious Word and Power Ministry International, Reverend Isaac Owusu Bempah has incurred the wrath of the families of the three girls kidnapped in Takoradi after claiming he knows their whereabouts.
They claimed the self-acclaimed nation’s prophet has bruised their wounds after the police made a similar comment which turned out to be a fiasco.
Spokesperson for families of the three kidnapped girls, Mr Michael Hayford Grant on Adom FM’s morning show, Dwaso Nsem Wednesday said they are pained at the comment.
Rev. Bempah, who claims to know where the girls have been kept, said only President Nana Akufo-Addo could force him to disclose the location.
“I know the whereabouts of the girls. If you dare me, just allow the President to call on me and ask me about their whereabouts and I will gladly tell him,” he stated.
The position by the prophet, according to Mr Grant, makes him [Bempa] a self-seeking “nation wrecker.”
“At the time we are all grieving, you get a fake prophet like Owusu Bempah make such a lose comment just to get V8 vehicle from the president,” he alleged in Twi.
Mr Grant said when he heard the prophet speaking on radio, he felt like slapping him through the radio.
“What will he gain from making such comments which only make the parents of the missing girls anxious? I can’t think far,” he fumed.
He charged Rev. Bempah to disclose the whereabouts of the girls or face their wrath.
This notwithstanding, Mr Grant said they are still collaborating with the police to rescue the girls.
The anxious families have spent the last few months protesting and demanding urgency from the Criminal Investigations Department but officials have asked the families to remain steadfast as they continue investigations.
The girls, Ruth Quayson, Priscilla Blessing Bentum and Priscilla Koranchie are believed to have been kidnapped between August 2018 and January 2019.
Police are still on a man-hunt for the kidnappers whom they suspect might be in Nigeria.
Parents of the accused standing trial for allegedly kidnapping three Takoradi girls, Samuel Wills, was on Monday heckled by parents of Priscilla Blessing Bentum and Ruthlove Quayeson.
The incident took place when the alleged kidnapper was being led to the Takoradi district magistrate court before his worship Michael Ampadu assumed his seat.
The frustrated mothers questioned Samuel Wills of the whereabouts of their children but the accused did not respond.
Priscilla Blessing Bentum was first kidnapped on August 17th, 2018, while Ruthlove Quayeson was kidnapped on December 4 and Priscilla Mantsebeah Koranchie also kidnapped on December 21st, 2018.
It would be recalled that Mr Alexander Kojo Kuranchie, father of Priscilla Mantsebeah Koranchie broke down in tears after court proceedings.
His worship Michael Ampadu on that day admonished the families to corporate with the police rather than vilifying them.
The magistrate insisted that the accused is being tried on his unlawful escape from police custody because the police have not concluded with their investigations on the kidnapping crime.
Meanwhile, the frustrated families have been piling pressure on the police and other security agencies all in a bid to get their girls, a situation which is yet to yield any dividends.