Mr Isaac Kofi Toffah, Commandant at Ghana Revenue Authority’s Customs Division Training Academy at Kpetoe, has confirmed to US FM on Monday, that Alex Aidoo, a Customs recruit died after he collapsed during a routine welcome training exercise on Saturday.
The 35 years old Aidoo reported together with 32 other driver-recruits at the Academy for a two-week training course.
According to Mr Toffah, the recruits were asked to carry their luggages and trek from a distance to the Academy after a roll call was conducted. He said exercises such jumping running, and press-ups, are routine for all recruits during the walk.
The commandant further disclosed that prior to the exercise, the Physical Training Instructor (PTI) asked if anyone had a medical condition to which one of the recruits with multiple fractures responded affirmatively and was excused after examination.
Mr Toffah said after sometime, the PTI and his assistants observed that Aidoo was having difficulties with the exercise and asked him to take a rest at the entrance of the Academy. He said after sometime, Aidoo was found shivering and a nurse was called in and he was conveyed by ambulance to regional hospital in Ho, Where he was pronounced dead upon arrival.
Mr Toffah has however dispelled reports suggesting that the recruit died out of molestations during the exercise and said checks indicate that the deceased had some health problems.
Eye-witnesses described the last Saturday’s exercise as ‘life-threating’ claiming that recruits whose luggages were deemed by the officers, as not heavy enough, were given cement blocks to carry in their luggages and run with it, including the deceased recruit.
“The recruits were instructed to remove their shirts and roll on the hot asphalted road, those of them who resisted, were flogged with logs to comply” an eye-witness narrated with a teary eyes.
The exercise got the recruits visibly weak and tired but they were not allowed to take rest or drink some water, even those who attempted resting, were ‘flogged and forced to continue the exercise’ a lady witness narrated.
The deceased eye-witnesses said, collapsed with his luggage in front of the training school, after about three hours of enduring the alleged ‘brutalities’ from the instructors.
The medical team which followed the recruits with an ambulance during the exercise rushed to resuscitate the young man and later conveyed him to the Volta regional hospital in Ho, where he was pronounced dead upon arrival.
Another eye-witness described the exercise as a sheer wickedness rather than training, “how can you take a fellow human being through this torture in the name of training. Even military training is not like this’ he said angrily.