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Immigration On High Alert; 12 'Okada' Riders Arrested   
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The Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) has arrested 12 commercial motorcycle riders, popularly called ‘okada riders’, who tried to help people enter Ghana illegally after the closure of Ghana’s borders as directed by the President.

It is part of efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVD-19).

The 12 people were arrested for trying to ‘smuggle people into Ghana’ and will be prosecuted

The Deputy Comptroller-General of the GIS in charge of Operations, Mr Laud Ofori Affrifah, who revealed this at a press conference to update the media on the COVID-19 situation yesterday, said many people had tried to sneak into Ghana since the closure of the borders at midnight last Sunday.

So far, he said, 40 people had tried to enter through the Elubo and the Aflao borders, but they were not allowed entry and advised people to stay away from the borders and not try to sneak in, as anyone who was arrested would be made to face the law.

“Drivers of vehicles have also been arrested and they are all being sent to mandatory quarantine, and thereafter the issue of prosecution will be considered,” he said.

Illegal entry

At midnight last Sunday, President Nana Addo Akufo-Addo’s directive to close all borders of Ghana came into effect and 40 people were apprehended trying to sneak in.

The directive is part of enhanced measures to curb the cases of COVID-19 being recorded in the country, as well as its spread.

Strict measures

Mr Ofori Affrifah said a Ghanaian medical officer who came in through Aflao, came in as far as to the Sogakope open border where he was apprehended and later placed in mandatory quarantine.

Also, an American who tried to come into Ghana through Aflao, was apprehended tested and then detained and placed under mandatory quarantine after the results of his test proved negative.

The Deputy Comptroller-General further indicated that at the Elubo Border, five Ghanaians, nine Beninnois, one Malian, three Nigerians and two Ivorians tried to enter Ghana last Monday but were turned away.

He said security had been tightened particularly, at the Aflao Border to prevent a situation of people sneaking into the country, as Togo was yet to close its borders.

He said given that situation, there was the likelihood that people would want to reroute their arrivals through that country and then try to sneak into Ghana.

“Ethiopian Airlines continues to fly to Lome and so we are watching that border post very closely because that is where we are seeing the tendency of persons coming through,” he said.

The Deputy Comptroller-General appealed to Ghanaians in border towns to cooperate with the border control measures amidst the spread of the pandemic.

“We are not in normal times and so the manner in which they have been conspiring to smuggle people out of the country should cease … they should rather inform us of illegal entries, instead of aiding them,” he said.

From Tamale Samuel Duodu reports that officials of the GIS have intensified patrols on unapproved routes/land borders in the North East, the Savannah and the Northern regions to prevent people from entering the country, in strict compliance with the directive to close all borders.

Approved/unapproved route

There are 14 approved entry routes into the country and the approved routes/land borders in the North East Region are at Bunkpurugu and Wonjuga that border Togo.

In the Savannah Region, the border post is at Chache in the Bole District that borders Cote d'Ivoire, while in the Northern Region the posts are at Saboba and Tatale that also border Togo.

These were disclosed in separate interviews with the GIS Regional Commanders for the North East and the Savannah regions following the President’s directive for the closure of all borders.

Chief Superintendent William Peter Andoh, the North East GIS Commander, and Assistant Commissioner of Immigration Fred Amankwa, the Savannah GIS Commander, in separate interviews, said officers of the service at the various border posts in their respective commands would strictly enforce the directive.

C/Supt Andoh and ACI Amankwa said in view of the closure of the borders, people might attempt to cross from the known unapproved routes and, therefore, patrols had been intensified to prevent entry into the country through those routes.

According to C/Supt Andoh, there were about eight known unapproved routes in the North East Region, aside from the two approved routes.

He mentioned some of the known unapproved routes in the region as Mamaga and Wenchiki in the Chereponi District.

For his part, ACI Amankwa gave the names of the known unapproved routes in the Savannah Region as Vuuvuu, Saru, Kalba, Mandari, Sagulyiri and Ntreso.

"We have intensified patrols on these known unapproved routes to prevent people from using them as entry points into the country, as our neighbour, Cote d'Ivoire, has also closed its side of the border at Chache in the Bole District, the only approved route," he said.
Source: Daily Graphic

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