Personnel from the Bureau of National Investigation (BNI) and a joint police-military team have arrested and detained the Director of Radio Tongu, Mr Zottor Bestway in the South Tongu District of the Volta Region for allegedly promoting the agenda of the Homeland Study Foundation Group (HSFG), a secessionist group which recently declared the Volta Region as independent Western Togoland.
Mr Zottor was picked up by the security personnel at his residence in Sogakope on Wednesday, 15 January 2020.
Prior to Mr Zottor’s arrest, the Volta Regional Minister, Dr Archibald Letsa, had described the Homeland Study Group Foundation as an embarrassment to the people of the Volta Region and cautioned the media against reporting issues related to the group’s activities.
The independence declaration was made by its 85-year-old leader, Mr Charles Kudzordzi, also known as Papavi Hogbedetor, on Saturday, 16 November 2019 at a public gathering of the group’s adherents at the premises of the former Unity Rural Bank which is a few metres away from the Ho Police Training school.
The secessionist declaration was broadcast live on Facebook.
The members of the group have had several brushes with the law on the matter in the past.
They rode on the recent omission of the Volta Region from the list of critical roads to be constructed in 2020 when the Finance Minister presented the budget to Parliament, in declaring the region independent.
Speaking in his native Ewe language in reference to the gaffe, which was corrected by Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, Papa Hogbedetor wondered if it was ever possible for parents to forget their children.
“They forgot about us because we’re not their children”, he said, declaring to cheers from his followers: “From the midnight of 16 November 2019 entering into Sunday, 17 November 2019, we’re now Western Togoland state”.
Speaking at a press soiree on Tuesday, 7 January 2020 at Ho in the Volta Region on the matter, Dr Letsa commended the media for not giving the separatist group room to propagate it agenda.
The Volta Regional Minister said: “We have this notorious group called Homeland Study Foundation, which are becoming an embarrassment to the people of the Volta Region and I’m happy that many of you don’t give them too much space to propagate their evil agenda against the nation of Ghana.”
The Minister further cautioned the media to be cautious in their reportage of issues related to the group and chided Tongu Radio for giving the group the platform to propagate their secessionist ideology.
Class News’ Volta regional correspondent Albert Kuzor reported that the decision to arrest Mr Zottor was taken after a District Security Council (DISEC) meeting.
Officials of the Regional and District Police Commands as well as BNI officials are mute on the matter. The staff of the Sogakope-based community radio station also declined to speak on the matter.