By Omotilewa Quadri
The authorities in Ghana have deported no fewer than 723 Nigerians, according to officials.
This is coming 36 years after Nigeria deported more than one million Ghanaians when an executive order was issued by the administration of former President Shehu Shagari for immigrants without proper documents to leave the country or face prosecution. The mass movement of Ghanaians at the time was popularly dubbed “Ghana Must Go”.
Nigeria’s High Commissioner in Ghana, Michael Abikoye, who confirmed this, said the 723 were deported between January 2018 and February 2019 for various offences including illegal stay, cybercrime and prostitution.
While protesting against the deportation during a meeting between him and the Comptroller-General of Ghana Immigration Service, Kwame Takyi, in Accra on Tuesday, Abikoye said 81 Nigerians were deported for alleged cybercrime and illegal stay in January, while 115 have so far been deported in February on the allegation of overstay and prostitution.
The High commissioner cautioned against inhuman treatment of Nigerians by Ghana, warning that torture or ill treatment of Nigerians would not be acceptable by Nigerian Government.
He said, “Although the GIS had linked prostitution and cybercrimes as some of the reasons for the deportation, it is improper to deport Nigerians for alleged illegal stay in Ghana.
“There are several Ghanaians living in Nigeria and the Nigeria Immigration Service has never deported any of them on ground of illegal stay because of a sense of brotherliness between our countries,” he said.
He expressed displeasure that Nigerians were not being fairly treated, stressing that there had been reported cases of molestation, harassment and torture of Nigerians by GIS officials, especially those awaiting deportation at the country’s detention facility.
The Ambassador also showed photos of some of them who sustained injuries on their legs, arms and eyes in the process of the torture.
According to him, the inhuman act was against the United Nations Convention against Torture.
He appealed that considering the poor state of the GIS’s facility; the Ghana Immigration Service should expedite action in their early repatriation to Nigeria immediately after the issuance of Emergency Travel Certificates.
In his response, Takyi acknowledged the existing bilateral relationship between the two countries.
He said the Ghana Immigration Service had to carry out deportation because of the conduct of some Nigerian nationals in Ghana.
He alleged that besides engaging in cybercrime and prostitution, “some Nigerians had become laws in themselves; they do road blockages in major Ghanaian streets where they drink, fight and stab one another”.
“This unruly behaviour, which contravenes the local laws in Ghana has led to directive from higher authority for their arrests and eventual deportation of those who do not have the requisite immigration papers,” Takyi said.
He, however, promised to investigate the alleged torture of some of the deportees.
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