By Kofi Ampeah-Woode
The number of Ghanaians who travel abroad illegally has decreased, hence Ghana was not listed among the countries whose citizens are currently risking to reach Europe by illegal means, according to a European Union (EU) report, cited by the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), Tema Regional Command.
This came to light when the Command held an awareness session with students of the Chemu Senior High Secondary School in Tema, on Thursday, the 4th of April, 2019, as part of the Public Affairs Unit of the Regional Command’s sensitization programme, to reach out and educate young people on the need to avoid illegal migration and its illusionary prospects.
Assistant Superintendent of Immigration (ASI) Richard Owusu-Brinfuor, of the Migration Management Unit, GIS Headquarters, said in a presentation that in contemporary times, Western countries – particularly the United States of America (USA) and Europe, are experiencing socio-economic upheavals, resulting in tensed debates towards returning migrants (especially the undocumented) to their original countries.
ASI Owusu-Brinfuor asserted that mostly, disappointment, wasted years, serious injuries, uncertain financial jeopardy and the ultimate cost of death, are a few of the hazards that await many who embark on illegal migration.
The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of GIS – Deputy Superintendent of Immigration (DSI) Mercy Budu, said the sensitization programme was necessary because the young ones would soon be out of school and the possible temptation to seek greener pastures abroad is high.
While DSI Budu advised young people to be more studious, since failure in securing good education, has the potency to make them vulnerable to the desire to travel in search of assumed greener pastures, she also advised parents to desist from sponsoring the youth on deadly voyages, for a better life.
As part of the Command’s presentation, the students were showed a video footage in which some persons who tried to stowaway out of their countries, were decapitated while other migrants experienced dehumanizing encounters.
The event got good traction from its audience when the organizers of the program presented one George Boateng, an electric welder from the Brong Ahafo Region, who shared a horrible personal experience, in his bid to travel illegally to Libya.
In his chilling narration, Mr. Boateng said that after he had sold his possessions – including his welding shop and equipment, he embarked on an illusionary treasure hunt, which ended him tortured and imprisoned in Libya, some of his traveling companions lost their lives, while others sustained serious injuries in the process.
The awareness education drive by the Public Affairs Unit of the Regional Command, has seen GIS engage two 2nd cycle institutions – the Tema and Chemu Senior High Secondary Schools, with plans of evangelizing the rest of the 2nd cycle institutions within the Tema metropolis, by close of the year 2019.