The Executive Director of Crime Check Foundation (CCF), Ibrahim Oppong Kwarteng has appealed to government to review Ghana’s drug policy in order to decriminalize certain offences relating to narcotic use in the country.
This petition comes at the back of the imprisonment of a feeble aged man and many others over the sale of Indian hemp popularly known in Ghana as “Wee”.
92-year-old Akollobila was nabbed by the police in 2012 at Kwahu Tafo for dealing in cannabis.
He was prosecuted and currently serving his 10-year jail term at the Kumasi Central Prison.
The ill-health Oldman recounts his emotional story to Mr. Kwarteng who is also an Ambassador Extraordinaire of Prisons in Ghana, during one of his visits to the Kumasi Central Prison.
“I was working on someone’s cocoa farm but was relieved of my duties due to my strength. Someone else approached me with wee business to help me make a living. I started selling and was apprehended by the police a few days later,” Akollobila told Mr. Kwarteng.
Akollobila’s health is deteriorating as a result of his old age and having already served five years of his sentence under the obvious congested prison cells.
He is asthmatic and his inability to walk has rendered him almost useless as he has become a burden on other strong prisoners.
“I have difficulty breathing. I’m unable to walk. If I want to visit the toilet, I’ll have to hold onto the tank over there, climb it and ease myself for someone to flush. It’s very difficult for me. I can’t even walk from here to there,” he said almost in tears.
The saddest part of the convict’s story is the fact that he claims his family is unaware he is in jail.
According to him, his wife and children were in Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region at the time of his arrest at Tafo in the Eastern Region.
He tells Mr. Kwarteng, “That time I didn’t even know what telephone was. I have never spoken on phone before. I don’t even know how to do hello, hello. My family members don’t know that I’m in jail so I don’t get help from them.”
He pleaded with Ghanaians to assist him to reach his family and also help him out of jail due to his worsening condition.
Ghanaians who watched CCF’s trending video on social media have been touched by Akollobila’s sad story.
They condemned the country’s justice system for being “cruel” to the vulnerable in society and appealed to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to grant amnesty to Akollobila and others like him who have been jailed over minor offences such us selling or smoking wee.