Repatriation: Ghana Dares Nigeria

By Nwangwu Uba

This is not the best of times for Nigerians living and doing busines in Ghana and other  member countries of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS.

This is because they are being allegedly repatriated on the flimsy excuse of illegal stay, Cyber Crime and Prostitution. The ECOWAS protocol allows  indigenes of  member countries of the sub-regional  body to stay in another member’s country for at least 90 days , without  documents.

Investigations  by the Value News Magazine shows that Nigerians who had been repatriated between March 2018 and now from these other West  African countries, particular Ghana,  had barely stayed one month .

Sources told the Magazine that the Ghana Immigration  Service, GIS, repatriated over 400 Nigerians, thus pushing Abdulrahman Dambazau, the country’s minister of Interior and Muhammad  Babandede, the Comptroller General, Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, to the wall to retaliate.

The GIS may have blamed  the repatriation of the  Nigerians to illegal stay, cyber crime and prostitution but Diplomatic sources told the Magazine that the action of the GIS, was to dare Nigeria to retaliate to start a Diplomatic war.

The question on the lips of most people: how many of these Nigerians who were repatriated were caught in the act of cyber crime or prostitution or apprehended for illegal stay in the country?   More so,  Ghana and these  other ECOWAS countries had  existing laws to prosecute Criminals and other offenders at the Court of Law than adopting the extreme measure of repatriating  these Nigerians, ,a Diplomat said.   Many of these repatriated Nigerian were said to  be doing genuine business or schooling but the GIS, officials were said to have  ignored their plea to respect the ECOWAS protocol to allow them  to stay in the country.

The situation is worrisome  as many of those Nigerian youths who were repatriated  had threatened to  deal with Ghanaians found in Nigeria. At present,  there millions of Ghanaians and indigenes of other West African African countries, staying in the country  without genuine ECOWAS travelling documents or duely issued VISA, but not harassed by the Nigerian Immigration officials.

Many believe that  the NIS could have paid the GIS, in their own coin both for the mere fact that President Muhammadu Buhari  is the Chairman of the ECOWAS Heads of States and Government,, and who may not want to support the country Immigration officials to retaliate by repatriating Ghanaians  in Nigeria to avoid a Diplomatic row.

There are fears in both official and unofficial circles, that if the NIS officials had gone ahead to repatriate Ghanaians who are staying in Nigerian illegally , over 5000 of them could have been repatriated  which the Ghanaian economy may not be able to accommodate for now.

This is where Buhari, as the Chairman of ECOWAS,Heads of State and Government may have to take it up with his Counterpart in Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo  to resolve the crisis before it degenerates to the level of the African Union, AU, intervention.

Already , there are pressures , on Babandede, the NIS , Comptroller General, to show to the Ghanaians  Immigration  Authority  that  Nigeria can bite also by repatriating Ghanaian citizens staying illegally in the country.

Many of these Ghanaians were said  to have  invalid documents  may have found their way into the country through illegal routes. In Adamawa state alone, according to David Paradang, a former Comptroller General of NIS, there are about 83 illegal entry routes into the country while 84 illegal  routes were found found in Ogun state, south west Nigeria.

The are indications that the NIS  Border patrol  officials may have looked the other way  for such Ghanaians and citizens of the  other  ECOWAS  member countries to flood Nigeria , without being  repatriated    because of  Nigeria’s role in the sub-region as the” big brother”.

The action of the Ghanaian Immigration Service, may have forced the NIS  officials at the  nation’s land border stations  and the Border patrol  officials  to do their work as at it up to done as  enshrined in the law setting up the agency .

Chukwuma Okoro, a Nigerian businessman who shuttles between  Nigeria and Togo,  confirmed that security had been tightened up at Seme-Krake  Joint Border post between Nigeria and Republic of Benin,  by the fearless  Dominic Asogwa,  the Comptroller of Immigration at Seme  border.

Asogwa  was aid to have sent a signal to travelers  on assumption of duties when he cleared the Baggage  by transferring all the Nigeria bound truck laden goods  into the Nigeria side of the border  and blocking  the illegal entry  routes at the Old border entry route. he was said to have employed the services of the Chinese Civil Engineering and Construction Company to remove the cranes found in the area amidst t by the people and alleged threat to his life.   The action of the Seme Immigration Comptroller with the support of officials  of the other Security agencies at the Border may have  forced travellers to watch what they are carrying while approaching the border to avoid running into NIS  trouble.

Only recently,  the Immigration  agency officials in one of its random checks  at the land  border were said to have intercepted some arms hidden in a traveller’s luggage.

Muhammad Babandede: Comptroller General Of Immigration

 

The suspect, according to an eyewitness, account was  arrested and detained for  further investigation. Insiders informed the Magazine that the suspect may be handed over to Muhammed Uba Garba, Chairman, Seme -krake Border Joint Security Committee and Comptroller, Nigeria Customs Service Service, NCS, Seme Command, to facilitate his official handover to the police for further investigation and help to apprehend other suspects who were said to be on the run. Going by the law, the NIS or the Customs may not detain any suspect beyond 24 hours without handing the suspect over to the police who have the powers to do so.

Many believe that the new lease of life  introduced at the land border by Garba, the Seme Customs Comptroller and the improved inter-agency relationship at the land border  may have encouraged  the officials of the NIS to discharge their duties at the Seme -Krake  Joint Border as expected. The fallout was the recent seizure of arms, a thriving business at the land border over the years.

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9 thoughts on “Repatriation: Ghana Dares Nigeria

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