Bring Back Ghanaians Stranded Abroad – Ablakwa to Gov’t

The Government of Ghana has come under attack for the seeming neglect of Ghanaian nationals stranded abroad for various reasons following news that the Kuwaiti Government has resolved to deport some Ghanaians from their country amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Briefing the press on Friday, May 22, 2020, the Minister for Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah disclosed that some 245 Ghanaians living in Kuwait illegally will be deported to Ghana on Saturday, May 23, 2020.

According to him, since they are coming as deportees the immigration laws governing such people will be used in processing them and therefore all of the deportees will undergo a mandatory quarantine at the expense of the Ghanaian Government upon arrival in the country.

However, commenting on the issue in an interview with Opera News in Parliament, the Member of Parliament for the North Tongu constituency and the Ranking Member on the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa berated the Akufo-Addo led government for being insensitive to the plight of Ghanaians stranded abroad in similar circumstances.

According to him, the deportation of Ghanaians by the Kuwaiti government is a vindication of the position of the Minority Caucus in Parliament who has, on a number of occasions, called on the Government to put measures in place to evacuate Ghanaians stranded abroad, especially Ghanaian students abroad.

“We should not have waited for things to get to this point. We should be embarrassed about our lack of urgency and total ineptitude we have shown so far as our nationals stranded outside are concerned. Look, are we saying that, Ghana, we are wiser than all the countries who are reaching out?” he said.

Government’s position then on the evacuation of Ghanaian nationals abroad was that it was too risky and perhaps too expensive to bring back, for instance Ghanaian students studying in China, the origin of the disease at the time when Ghana was yet to record its first case of COVID-19.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries including Ghana had to take stiff measures to protect their citizens from contracting the disease and to prevent the spread of the disease which was fast spreading its tentacles from country to country with the speed of light.

Ghana took a cue from other countries and also had to close its borders in order not to import more of the cases into the country. Unfortunately, there were some Ghanaians who were caught up in the middle of this situation and had to stay outside the boundaries of their country until further notice.

But the Ranking Member on the Committee of Foreign Affairs has insisted that Government has just been negligent in the performance of its duties towards its people. Some of whom may have ran out of resources, lack basic social amenities wherever they may be stranded outside the borders of their country.

“That is why governments are there. Why do we pay taxes? So that in times like these we could be helped. It could have happened to any of us. You could have gone out there to do business; for a short course; or to attend a conference and you could have been stranded,” the Ranking Member indicated.

Mr. Okudzeto Ablakwa has therefore urged the Government to see the deportation of these 245 Ghanaians from Kuwait as a clarion call to put in place measures to evacuate all Ghanaian nationals going through challenges elsewhere and stop delaying time with unnecessary excuses.

“The Government pussyfooting must stop. The slow tortoise pace must stop. Even a tortoise would have long arrived at its destination. This Government pussyfooting must stop,” he urged.

To present Government’s position on the issue, the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament, Frank Annor Dompreh, told the media in a briefing that Government has not completely neglected Ghanaians stranded abroad as the Ranking Member would want people to believe.

According to him, Government was only being careful not to import more cases into the country in an attempt to protect Ghanaians in the country from contracting the disease. He posited that the spike in the cases in the United States for instance, was as the result of the haste in bringing back US nationals from China which was the epic center of the disease.

Mr. Annor Dompreh, however added that the Government is far advance in plans to evacuate Ghanaians stranded abroad and that the measures would be announced soon.

Source: Clement Akoloh ||

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