Illegal Immigrants: Immigration Service Blames Flexible ECOWAS Policy
The Ghana Immigration Service has blamed the influx of illegal immigrants into the country on relaxed requirements for movement across the borders of nations belonging to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
The protocol of the regional bloc states that citizens of member states are allowed to enter any other ECOWAS country and stay there for up to 90 days without visas.
According to the Immigration Service's Head of Public Affairs, Superintendent Michael Amoako-Atta, the lack of strict rules governing the movement of persons across the borders is hindering the ability of the governments of West African nations to effectively manage entry into their territories.
“It's not a question of a relaxed border. ECOWAS' protocol says that citizens of member states can enter without visas and stay for 90 days and are free to move within the country and do whatever they want to do. There's not enough restriction,” Superintendent Amoako-Atta told Citi News.
He intimated that the re-introduction of visa applications for entry into ECOWAS countries could help contain the numbers making their way across borders in West Africa.
“If you were to apply for a visa, based on information provided on the form you can be denied or approved,” he said.
His comments come a day after the GIS announced that it had deported a hundred illegal immigrants from various African countries.
Based on some intelligence, the GIS embarked on swoops in some parts of Accra to apprehend nationals of other countries living in the country without the requisite documents.
Superintendent Amoako-Atta said that the number is a significant rise from similar action in 2016 when 20 immigrants were deported and 2017, which saw 58 people deported.
“We set up our intelligence gathering in some spots in the city and through that, we were able to make a lot of swoops leading to the arrest of mostly African migrants who were in the country and whose stay was in contravention of the immigration laws of the country,” he said.
The Immigration Service has said the deportations were in line with its commitment to support other security agencies to fight crime in the country.
The government has supported the service's operations with 50 multi-purpose motorcycles to help combat criminal activities at the country's borders and other entry points.
The news of the deportation follows the surge in criminal activity in some parts of the country resulting in a number of arrests including the detention of 22 Nigerians for allegedly engaging in cyber-crime.