Editorial: Nigerien beggars are back on our streets?


Over the past two years, The Chronicle has been using this column to draw the attention of the relevant state authorities to the influx of Nigeriens, Malians and other nationals from the West African sub-region into the country without any legal documentation.  These migrants, who came into the country with hundreds of children, took over all the busy intersections in Accra, Kumasi and other towns and cities in the country, harassing drivers, passengers, and passers-by for alms.

Signals we picked up at the time indicated that some businessmen, who are mostly foreign nationals, saw it as a lucrative venture to transport these economic migrants into the country for fees. But, despite the embarrassment the foreign beggars were causing this country, both locally and internationally, governments of Ghana was still reluctant to take action against them, because they do not want to breach the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) protocol on free movement of persons and goods.

At a point in time, The Chronicle discovered that the Ministry of Gender and Social Protection rounded up these street beggars and handed them over to the Nigerien Embassy in Accra, but they were later released back onto the streets. As we have always stated in this column, we were protesting against the influx of these unskilled foreigners, because they could pose a security threat to us as a country.

Apart from the possibility of terrorists masquerading as these beggars to wreak havoc on this peaceful country of ours, we also feared that since children from these foreign countries do not have access to any form of formal education, Ghana was virtually nursing future social miscreants on our streets. The Chronicle was, however, happy that after two solid years of protests, the government decided to act on the situation.

According to recent media reports, hundreds of these migrants and their children were once again rounded up, and with the support of their embassies in Accra, airlifted to their respective countries of origin. Indeed, those driving on the streets of Accra will attest to the fact that these migrants in recent days are no more seen at the various traffic intersections begging for alms.

But just as Ghanaians begin to heave a sigh of relief, new migrants, mainly from the same Niger and Mali have started arriving in the country. Yesterday, The Chronicle spotted some of them at the traffic lights at the Apenkwa Interchange in Accra. This clearly tells a story that the government officials did not tackle the problem at the right source – that is, their illegal transportation into the country by crude businessmen and women.

The Chronicle is, therefore, appealing to National Security to be alert at all our entry points, and try to intercept some of these human cargos being imported into the country. Allowing them entry and later deporting them, we beg to say, is a waste of scarce state resources. Our security should also not lose sight of the fact that terrorists as we had earlier indicated, can sneak into the country by disguising themselves as economic migrants.

The bitter lessons being experienced by Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast and lately Republic of Togo should nudge us as a nation to wake up from our slumber and begin to act decisively when it comes to the flooding of our streets by these migrants. A word to the wise…


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