The National Youth Authority (NYA) has charged the authorities to apply sanctions to those found guilty in relation to the gun-related violence which occurred at the 20th edition of the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (VGMAs) held on Saturday, 18 May 2019.
The event, held at the new Dome of the Accra International Conference Centre, nearly turned bloody when fans of Ghanaian reggae dancehall artistes Livingstone Etse Satekla, known in showbiz as Stonebwoy; and his archrival, Charles Nii Armah Mensah Jr., also known as Shatta Wale, clashed over an award.
The confusion happened when Stonebwoy was announced as the Reggae Dancehall Artiste of the Year.
Shatta Wale and his fans approached the podium to, ostensibly congratulate Stonebwoy, but events turned chaotic resulting in a lot of pushing and shoving – a situation that prompted Stonebwoy to pull out his pistol.
The security officers at the event pepper-sprayed the stage in an attempt to prevent a full-blown fight.
A statement by Chief Executive Officer of the NYA, Emmanuel Sin-nyet Asigri, urged “the police to deal ruthlessly with perpetrators of the incident to serve as a deterrent to other players in the entertainment front who might want to take the peace of this country for granted. No one is above the law”.
The NYA added that: “The youth must send one very clear, strong, unmistakable message that acts or threats of violence of any kind have no place in the entertainment front of the country”.
Stonebwoy later apologised for his actions when he came back on stage to receive another one. He also issued a public statement apologising unreservedly for his actions.
The police have since invited the two artistes for questioning as investigations proceed on the matter.
Below is the full statement:
Violence has no place in Ghana’s Entertainment Space
The National Youth Authority has taken notice of the unfortunate incident during the 2019 Vodafone Ghana Music Awards and strongly condemns and in no uncertain terms the disruption of the awards ceremony through the reckless display by Charles Nii Armah Mensah (Shatta Wale) and Livingstone Etse Satekla (Stonebwoy). Many expected the two musicians to have exhibited good conduct worthy of emulation by young people in view of the large and strong following they command in the Ghanaian entertainment front.
The Authority shares the view that the organizers of the event, Charter House should have guaranteed the welfare of patrons for the night by putting in place the appropriate preventive security measures in anticipation of such occurrences, especially when they are fully aware of the rivalry existing between these two artistes. We count ourselves lucky that this incident did not degenerate into a stampede where lives of patrons would have been put in jeopardy.
In the midst of the prevailing security situation in the West Africa Sub-region relative to suspicious terror activities, we call on the youth of Ghana to stand up and defend the integrity of the country by conducting themselves in a disciplined, patriotic and nationalistic manner as well as resisting any negative influence from these two musicians or any other person or group. The youth must send one very clear, strong, unmistakable message that; acts or threats of violence of any kind have no place in the entertainment front of the country.
The Authority also takes note of efforts put in by the Ghana Police Service to contain the situation to avert further deterioration. However, the police must at all material times in situations such as what happened on Saturday, be moderate and professional in how people are handled during crisis of this nature where people are in an enclosed environment such as the Dome. We further call on the Police to deal ruthlessly with perpetrators of the incident to serve as deterrents to other players in the entertainment front who might want to take the peace of this country for granted. No one is above the law.
The Authority is closely monitoring events as they unfold and calls on all Ghanaians, especially the youth to remain calm and united against all acts that seek to disturb the prevailing peace in the country.
Emmanuel Sin-nyet Asigri
Chief Executive Officer
National Youth Authority