The President of the National House of Chiefs and Agbogbomefia of the Asogli State, Togbe Afede XIV has asked the Ghana Immigration Service to mitigate approaches ensuring that residents of border communities are affected.
He said there was the need for a human face approach to the border closure to mitigate livelihood of communities.
He made the comments during a tour to Ketu South, Ho municipality and the Leklebi-Kame border community in the Afadjato South District of the Volta Region, to engage with immigration officials.
He said that the situation was worse than expected since it has affected access to basic facilities in the country for those caught on the cross borderline.
He said the siting of immigration posts away from the actual border lines affected communities on the frontier, and that efforts to secure the nation’s borders must not hinder the livelihoods of cross border residents.
“It is a blanket suggestion that you cannot cross the checkpoint when you know that Ghana lies beyond that checkpoint. How do parents explain to their children that we are no more Ghanaian? Suddenly you cannot come to your own country. Can you imagine the psychological trauma?” Togbe Afede asked.
Togbe Afede, therefore, called for peace and unity, adding that, the chieftaincy institution had supported peaceful conduct of the elections, and would continue to work towards its success.
An Immigration Officer at a border post noted that the place was calm adding that there were no crossings, “no one dares”.
He also confirmed that people from beyond the post, who were schooling in Ghana too had been denied passage.
Togbuiga Delume VII, Paramount Chief of Ve Traditional Area, said there had been no reports of harassment by security personnel since their deployment.
Mr Thomas Alutornu, Secretary to the Hornuta Traditional Council in the Ho West District reported to the Committee that military personnel deployed to the area, a few days later started breaking into homes, and also arrested some residents they claimed were Togolese seeking to register.
He said the people lived in fear as they were “surrounded by security personnel” until the voter registration process was done with.
“They were turning people away, yet we share a common boundary with Togo and we share the same culture,” Mr Alutornu said, adding that it was wrong to claim that people of frontier communities were not Ghanaians.
He, however, noted that no violence had been recorded, although some local vigilantes had also committed to helping keep out non-Ghanaians.
The Committee visited border communities in the Ho Municipality, and also major entry points in the Ketu South Municipality, asking border officials to continue to sympathize with the people.