Inmates, police officers at the Central Police Station and other police cells in the Greater Accra region are calling for immediate action to decongest the cells, following reports that two Nigeriens arrested for illegally entering the country, have allegedly tested positive for Coronavirus.
Some media houses have reported that the two Nigeriens were brought to the police cells after test results proved positive, raising serious concerns among the police officers and suspects in the cells.
The two Nigeriens were arrested and brought to the station on Saturday, April 4, and kept there with their samples taken for testing. They were later sent to the Ga East Hospital, where they stayed till Saturday, April 11.
Their stay at the Coronavirus Isolation Centre raised suspicion that they had tested positive. This brought about apprehension among officers and inmates.
The Ghana Police Service, in its response, stated that the station was fumigated after the two suspects were taken away, but this is not being taken serious by officers and suspects who are calling for immediate steps to decongest the stations and equipment for frontline workers at police stations.
Some of the suspects in the cells have been granted bail but working on the conditions for release before the declaration of the lockdown that affected court officials working on their documentation.
The case of the two Nigeriens has brought to the fore an urgent need to consider decongesting the cells, using the Justice-For-All scheme where cases of suspects could be summarily reviewed for immediate release.
As at the time of going to press, the two Nigeriens were still in custody at the Central Police Station.
Some of the suspects in police cells are said to be minor offenders whilst others are under bail but yet to fulfil their conditions.
A case in point is that of a suspect currently in the Nima cells (name withheld), who has fulfilled all bail conditions but due to the lockdown, couldn’t get court officials to finish the documentation process.
His fate, now hangs on the loosening of the lockdown rules as he, together with other inmates, faces the danger of possible infection, if any Covid 19 infected person is ever brought into the cells.
There are also cases of suspects whose case have delayed for lack of prosecution. It is feared that, considering the non-existence of social distancing, suspects in these cells would pose a greater danger to society in general if nothing is done.
Ghana currently has 636 positive cases of the Corona Virus Disease (Covid 19).