By Ajibola Abayomi,
The Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) has reacted to the alleged arrest and molestation of 35 Nigerians at Aflao border town of the country saying only 22 Nigerian nationals are being withheld for attempting to cross the nation’s border without necessary documentation.
A human rights organisation, Concerned Citizens Rights (CCR), had raised concern over the condition of 35 Nigerian migrants allegedly being held by Ghanaian authorities in a detention camp.
The group said the affected Nigerians have been allegedly subjected to all manners of inhuman treatment for no just reasons, calling on the authorities concerned to rise to the occasion.
National President of the group, Dr Olusegun Adeola, in a letter addressed to the Chairman, Nigeria in Diaspora Commission (NiDCM), Honourable Abike Dabiri, on June 26, 2020, said the Nigerians were languishing in a border town of Aflao in Ghana located between the country and Togo Republic.
“While being held incommunicado, they were made to pay 300 cedis each under duress to the immigration officers. Their phones and ECOWAS Passports were seized and without the opportunity of reaching out to members of their family since they left home, who may not even know their whereabouts, situations and circumstances currently” he alleged.
However checks by the Journalists International Forum For Migration from the GIS revealed thus by the Head of Public Affairs, GIS, Superintendent Michael Amoako-Atta.
Reacting he said : “My information received from the Aflao Sector Command of the Ghana Immigration Service is that 22 Nigerians were in our custody for attempting to enter Ghana through unapproved routes and were detained at the Command. In line with covid-19 protocols their samples were taken and had to be isolated for the mandatory 14 days quarantine.
“The Nigerian High Commission in Ghana is fully aware and has visited them twice. They are taken care of by the GIS, Port Health and the High Commission of Nigeria.
“Nobody’s money has been taken from him or her. If there is any such person it should be brought to my attention here and I promise to deal with it. The NHC too has been preparing travel certificates for them to travel back.”
He said, while the GIS too applied “for special clearance for them to cross the border back to Nigeria because all borders are closed so one cannot just get to a border and cross it.
“The 22 Nigerians were made up of 3 females and 19 males. The NHC informed them that they will bear their own transportation cost back to Nigeria which they all agreed. The cost is GHC300 .
“As I write this there are only 12 Nigerians who are currently at the holding area. 10 have already been returned back to Nigeria after their travel documents were presented by the NHC
“My information is that the remaining 12 will get their traveling documents by Tuesday and leave the same day. Finally I can say that our 22 brothers and sisters were not abused in any way and were given every care and attention within the capabilities of the local authorities with support from the NHC.”
He said one of the values of the Ghana Immigration Service was professionalism and respect for Human Rights and these are at the core of our mandate.
“We see our brothers and sisters from Nigeria as part of us. And for an Institution as the GIS to mistreat a person in our custody without regard to his or her human rights is something that I honestly cannot fathom.
“I have also asked our Aflao Commander to investigate these issues once again especially the extortion of monies and abuse of human rights and the other issues raised in the post” said the GIS spokesman.