Blame deportation of Ghanaian nationals on Akufo-Addo – Okudzeto

Hon. Samuel Okudzeto Ablalwa
Hon. Samuel Okudzeto Ablalwa

The ranking member on the foreign affairs committee of parliament, Hon. Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has blamed the government of Ghana over the inhumane treatments meted out to Ghanaian nationals living abroad most especially those deported from Kuwait.

According to the member of parliament for the North Tongu constituency in a Facebook publication on his official page, the government led by Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has turned deaf ears to calls from nationals living abroad and even the minority in parliament to allow those abroad to return since the outbreak of the virus in the country which led to closure of the country’s borders.

Mr. Okudzeto raised concern over how the said Ghanaians living in Kuwait got there since there has been a ban on travels into gulf countries of which Kuwait is not an exception

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According to him, it is right that government of Ghana throws an investigation into how the travels came about including how they obtained their visa, the recruitment agencies involved, the immigration process and those who took part in it without a second thought.

Moving on, the honourable member stated that it is unacceptable and embarrassing in the face of the world having most countries evacuating their nationals from other countries which recently saw the South African government doing same from the jurisdiction of Ghana and Ghana being the black star of African missing out.

Full extract below:

As we welcome 245 of our compatriots back home from Kuwait later today; the point must be made that it shouldn’t have taken an act of deportation by the Kuwaiti Government at the expense of the Kuwaiti tax payer to compel our Government to grant access to the Kotoka International Airport to our fellow Ghanaians. Never mind that the Akufo-Addo Administration despite its border closures has continued to open the airport for other nationals to be evacuated out of Ghana by their Governments.

Many of the Ghanaians arriving today from Kuwait have harrowing stories to tell. For many weeks since the outbreak of COVID-19, we heard them, saw their videos and read their petitions after claims that they were unfairly dismissed and ejected from their places of work.

As Ranking Member on the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament, I saw the video appeals they put together insisting they had funds to purchase their own tickets if only Government shall agree to grant them access to our airport. Certainly, that prospect compared with deportation would have been more dignifying and they would have been proud of the country they have always called home.

The ordeals and reports of blatant discrimination as narrated by many of these returnees most of whom were domestic workers must be the subject of thorough investigations.

Government must switch from its perfunctory posture and look deeper beyond the claims of Kuwaiti officials.

The investigations I call for must necessarily look into how these Ghanaians left our shores in the first place? Which recruitment agencies arranged their travel? How did recruitment agents come to collude with state officials from the Employment Ministry all the way to the Ghana Immigration Service, particularly, when there has been a ban on such travel arrangements to Gulf States including Kuwait since 2017?

Current developments appear to vindicate respected institutions such as the University of Ghana’s Centre for Migration Studies (CMS) and Migrating out of Poverty (MOOP) which have long maintained following research they conducted that Ghana’s ban on recruitment of workers to Gulf States and the freeze on recruitment licenses have been a disaster as they have failed to halt the practice.

Beyond calling for thorough investigations, the Minority would be demanding answers in Parliament in the days ahead.

I must emphasize, however, that the Akufo-Addo-led Government’s policy on stranded Ghanaians abroad has been most insensitive, uncoordinated and absolutely inept. This is quite surprising for a President who once served as Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration.

If Government had listened to some of us a while back, we could have engaged in high level bilateral negotiations with counterpart Governments to assist us in bringing back home stranded Ghanaians instead of opening our airport to the many empty chartered flights over the last two months.

It is unacceptable and embarrassing that while many countries have carried out multiple rounds of evacuation from Ghana and elsewhere, our Government is still pussyfooting with claims that they are collecting data and engaged in internal discussions after all these weeks. No one must be told that the matter in issue requires a high sense of urgency and proritization.

I bet if it had been an IMF loan facility which has just become available for member states, the Akufo-Addo-led Government would have already been bragging about how fast and efficient Ghana’s application was and how we made such a compelling case to receive the biggest allocation.

Ghana can do far better and we sure can place far better value on the lives of our citizens.

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