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05.08.2019 Feature Article

Should The Free Movement Of People Across Africa Exclude Criminals?

Should The Free Movement Of People Across Africa Exclude Criminals?
AUG 5, 2019 FEATURE ARTICLE

To enable the continent's younger generation's brightest and best entrepreneurs to create wealth and jobs galore across Africa, most educated Africans will agree that they must be allowed to work and live anywhere they choose, in each of the member nations constituting the African free trade area. However, it is vital that governments across Africa take all the needed steps to ensure that criminals are excluded from enjoying that singular privilege.

Security agencies in Africa have key roles to play in ensuring that local criminals are prevented from entering other jurisdictions in sister nations. Using artificial intelligence facial recognition systems, it ought to be possible, for example, for the authorities in Rwanda, to request and receive accurate information about a Kigali-based Ghanaian Bolgatanga basket manufacturer, from the Ghanaian authorities, at any given point in time.

Likewise, the Nigerian authorities must have information about all Ghanaian citizens living within that giant sister nation, for example, which could lead to their being pinpointed and invited to help the Nigerian authorities to investigate any matter, whenever the need to do so, arises. And, vice versa, for all Nigerians (and other African nationals) in Ghana.

Surely, a continent under siege by terrrorist groups and organised cross-border criminal syndicates, must quickly create synchronised databases for just such a purpose? The question is: In light of recent events in Takoradi, as a people, should we not give our nation's security agencies the capability to identify and track all foreigners, and therby prevent barbaric foreign criminals - with murderous intent - from entering Ghana to murder innocent people for ritual purposes, for example? Criminals must not be allowed to travel freely across Africa. Full stop. Haaba.

Kofi Thompson
Kofi Thompson, © 2019

This author has authored 355 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: KofiThompson

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