At Accra Mall
By Gifty Arthur
Three ladies, said to be students of the University of Ghana (UG), Legon, were subjected to a very humiliating treatment after they were caught red handed shoplifting ladies panties (pioto) and braziers at the Accra Shopping Mall, Monday evening.
The three, were ordered to crawl on their knees, while security men at the Mall marched them outside of the facility, whilst excited on-lookers filmed the humiliating episode.
The action of the light-skinned ladies, believed to be in their twenties, spontaneously became the most talked about story on social media platforms yesterday, ahead of President, John Dramani Mahama’s State of the Nation Address, as friends shared the video and read the stories accompanying it with shock.
The incident, which eyewitnesses say occurred at the ‘Mr. Price’ shop, one of the many shops inside the giant Accra Mall, attracted shoppers and passersby who took videos of the three ladies, amidst shouts of several unpleasant words.
The ladies, who looked unassuming, at some point of their embarrassing moment tried covering their faces but the security men who followed them to the main entrance of the Mall, ordered them to “raise their heads” for those filming to get better shots.
Last Monday’s incident, follows another one that was recorded at the campus of the University in March 2011, where a Madina-based hairdresser cum petty trader, whose name was given only as Amina, was stripped naked after she was alleged to have stolen a laptop and unspecified number of mobile phones from Mensah Sarbah Hall.
Meanwhile, the Vice-President of the University’s Students’ Representative Council (SRC), Kwame Asare Antwi, in a telephone interview with this reporter, could not confirm whether the accused ladies were from the University. He said, he was checking but was yet to get a positive response as to whether or not the ladies were indeed, students of Legon.
Mr .Antwi, who confirmed he had heard and even watched the video on the internet on Monday, threatened action against any media house that tags the ladies as coming from the University, if it is unable to provide credible information about the status of the three ladies with respect to the University.
According to him, several information on social media say, the ladies are from the University, whiles others say they are not. As a student leader, he could not feed on mere speculations and so will wants to wait to get all the fact before going public.
“I just want to get my facts right, I don’t want to go ahead and be a fool. I want to get my facts right and be sure that they are UG students.
“I have tasked my intelligence committee and the students who serve on SRC committees, to make sure they get me further particulars and details. I shouldn’t be on record to say that they are students if I can’t guarantee their ID numbers, their halls of residence, and all that.
“If I am telling you that they are students I should be able to give you their ID numbers, give you their halls of residence that is if they are residence on campus and any other details that make them students of the UG. Any media house which will go out there and tell us that they are from here, we will demand from them their ID numbers”, he warned.
The young student leader, condemned the individuals in the video who subjected the accused persons to public ridicule, noting that there are laws in the country and so wondered why they failed to hand them over to the security agencies.
The Vice-President of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Ursula Owusu has also deplored the disgraceful manner in which the ladies were treated.
“You do not make them crawl on the floor that is an affront to their human dignity. Even convicted murderers have rights. They are suspected thieves. You don’t treat them that way”, she condemned.
“You don’t humiliate them like that in the full view of the public. That is what barbarians do”.
In her view, “that is what people in the jungle do. You don’t treat them like dogs. It is not proper. It is barbarism”, she condemned in an interview with XYZ.
Ursula Owusu, who is a Member of Parliament (MP) for Ablekuma West, said the ladies should lodge a complaint at the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) or any of the human rights organisations to seek redress.
She expressed bewilderment at the fact that none of the on-lookers intervened to stop the act of “barbarism”. She said she found it totally “appalling”.