The Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) has justified the action of one of its officers who was captured in a viral video asking persons without a voters’ ID card to alight from a vehicle.
Some commentaries accompanying the video on social media claim that persons without the voters’ ID card were disembarked and subjected to scrutiny.
The Immigration Service in its statement to respond to the viral video said, although the call for proof of identity from travellers by the Immigration Officer may be inappropriate, it was done in the national security interest.
Read the Immigration Service’s response below:
The said incident took place on Monday, the 13th of July, 2020, at the Anomatoape Inland Immigration Checkpoint of the Half Assini Sector Command in the Western Region.
Anomatoape Inland Immigration Checkpoint is strategically mounted at the junction between Newtown, an approved entry point with several unapproved routes to Half Assini and the coastal village of Anomatoape which shares border with Ivory Coast, to intercept persons who enter the country illegally.
The Ghana Immigration Service wishes to state that, although the call for proof of identity of travellers by the Immigration Officer may be inappropriate, the circumstances at the time necessitated it, and it was done in the interest of national security.
Facts are that, prior to the arrival of the bus at the checkpoint, three (3) motor riders suspected to be escorts/agents of the said bus, came and told the Officers including a police officer at the post, that a bus carrying their people would be passing through the Immigration Checkpoint to Half Assini to get them registered for the new Ghana Voters’ ID card.
Apparently, the immigrants had been refused by the people of Newtown to register there because they claim they were not indigenes of the place and thus were on their way to Half Assini.
The demeanour of the motor riders created doubts, and therefore, the Officers became suspicious of their intent and purposes.
Whiles negotiation between the Officers and the agents for unhindered or free passage for the immigrants was ongoing, the bus arrived at the checkpoint.
The instantaneous and suspicious nature characterizing the event, led to the quick response of the Immigration Officer to demand proof of identity in the bus, which nonetheless, forms part of the features an Immigration Officer looks for when examining travel documents of persons entering or leaving the country.
The uncoordinated behaviour of the travellers (immigrants) led to further interrogation by the Officers which uncovered the following issues:
- Majority of them were Ivoirians who had come from a village called Maama in Cote d’Ivoire
- They entered the country illegally by crossing the river to the Newtown community in Ghana
- They had no form of identification on them
They have since been handed over to the Jewey Wharf Immigration Border Post and with the support of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority and Bureau of National Investigation, repatriated to Maama in Cote d’Ivoire.
The GIS wishes to assure the public that it remains vigilant at the frontiers of the country and will endeavour to exhibit healthy doses of professionalism in the course of managing migration in the country and contributing to national security.