By Kunle SHONUGA
The Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana, Amb. Michael Abikoye, has protested the inhuman treatment of Nigerians by the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) with the deportation of 723 Nigerians between 2018 and 2019.
TBI Africa said Abikoye said this at a meeting between him and the Comptroller-General of GIS, Kwame Takyi, in Ghana, with report obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja.
The High Commissioner said that 723 Nigerians were deported on alleged illegal stay, cybercrime and prostitution between the January 2018 and January 2019.
According to him, 81 Nigerians are deported on 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 any form of torture or ill treatment of Nigerians would not be acceptable to Nigerian Government.
He said, though the High Commission would not condone any form of criminality on the part of Nigerians, saying that inhuman treatment and alleged torture of some Nigerians in Ghana would no longer be tolerated.
“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
The Ambassador, therefore, presented to the CG a copy of the Mission’s records on deportations of Nigerians from January 2018 till date.
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 GIS’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 to the CG to prevail on his officials to treat Nigerians and other ECOWAS nationals with human face, caution and not as common criminals.
Abikoye expressed displeasure on the long detention of Nigerians in the GIS custody after proper documentation and issuance of Emergency Travel Certificate for their repatriation by the High Commission.
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, the CG acknowledged the existing bilateral relationship between the two countries as earlier pointed by Abikoye.
According to Takyi, the GIS are being compelled to carry out repatriation 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.”
The CG, however, promised to investigate alleged torture of some Nigerians.
He, however, showed the Ambassador a video of some Nigerians, obstructing justice by preventing the official vehicle of the GIS the right of way after arresting a Nigerian in Kasoa area.
The report said that the incessant deportation of Nigerians and alleged inhuman treatment of some of them, had once again brought to fore, the urgent need for Nigerian Government to hasten on earlier proposal to fix a date for hosting of the Ghana and Nigeria Permanent Joint Commission meeting.