Still Dying for Ghana’s Independence?

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The peril of serving in security agencies often entails the risk of death. However, the thought of succumbing to exhaustion from a parade is likely not the envisioned end for two security officers—an Air Force officer and a Prison Officer.

At the 67th Independence Day Anniversary celebration in Koforidua, the two tragically died. The first incident occurred during rehearsals for the Independence Day parade at the Koforidua Prison Park where Lance Corporal Paul Badu, a 40-year-old prison officer, passed away after Officials from the Ghana Red Cross Society, Ambulance Service and other health workers present rushed to his rescue.

In response to the tragic event, the management of Koforidua Prison says it has implemented measures to monitor the blood pressure of officers participating in Independence Day parade rehearsals, ensuring their health and well-being are prioritized.

However, the loss of the dedicated officer has deeply saddened the prison community. Flight Sergeant (F/SGT) Armah Nii Okai Mensah Alfred, a member of the Air Force Male Contingent, collapsed while on parade at the Koforidua Youth Resource Centre. Despite receiving treatment at the Koforidua Government Hospital, he succumbed to his condition. Flight Sergeant Armah was remembered as a dedicated and professional Airman, whose absence will be deeply felt within the Air Force community.

A statement by Ghana Air Force said a delegation led by the Chief Staff Officer, Air Commodore Eric Yirenkyi, visited the family of the deceased to officially convey the news.

The body of Flight Sergeant Armah was later received at the Air Force Base Accra.

“Our thoughts and condolences are with the families of Lance Corporal Paul Badu and Flight Sergeant Armah during this difficult time. We urge everyone to respect their privacy as they mourn their loved ones. Funeral arrangements will be communicated in due course”.

During the Independence Day parade held at the Tamale Jubilee Park on March 6, 2024, 44 students and 26 security personnel reportedly collapsed. The prolonged exposure to the intense heat of the sun during the event is suspected to have contributed to their fainting spells.

In an interview with GhOne News, Yakubu Amin Abukari, the acting Northern Regional Manager for the Red Cross Society, disclosed that a total of 72 individuals had fainted. This included six soldiers, five policemen, seven prison officers, six fire officers, and two immigration officers.

Yearly, students collapse due to exhaustion, raising questions as to whether children should be allowed to stand and march in the sun for hours.

Notably, this tragedy echoes a similar incident from twelve years ago when 14-year-old Etornam Gorni died during a rehearsal for the 2012 Independence Day parade.

Source: Ghana/ Ansah/Benjamin Sackey

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