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General News of Saturday, 6 August 2011

Source: GNA

Immigration Officers upgrade skills on basic intelligence

Wa, Aug. 6, GNA - There is an increasing number of foreigners and hu= man trafficking activities at the Hamile Border control, says the Upper West Regional Command of the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS). Assistant Director of Immigration Lord Ofori Affrifah, Upper West Regional Commander of the GIS, indicated that the situation was bound to worsen in the future with the improvement of road network in the region. The increasing reports of illegal trade activities across the Wechiau Border in addition to the Fulani problem that continued to threaten the peace of local communities and travelers had also become a serious issue of concern for the Command.

Mr Affrifah disclosed this at the closing ceremony of a six-day Basic Intelligence Training Course for officers of the Service at Wa on Friday. The Commander said it was based on these mishaps that the GIS engaged itself in a new policy direction by introducing the concept of intelligence-led immigration control into its operations. In this regard, an Intelligence and Enforcement Unit was being formed to undertake a more rigorous enforcement of the law, ADI Affrifah said. In all, 48 officers drawn from all border controls of Hamile, Lawra, Tumu, Bole and the Regional Command took part in the training. The immigration intelligence-led course is being run under the programme: 93Countering Human Smuggling and other Irregular Migration in Ghana".

The 2.5 million Euro programme is being funded by the European Union (EU) with support from the British High Commission, the Netherlands, the French and the Spanish embassies.

The Police, Department of Birth and Death, Office of the Attorney General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs are supporting the GIS to implement the programme. Mr Affrifah noted that the Hamile Immigration Control building would be rehabilitated by the end of this year and installed with border surveillance equipment to enhance border security. This is being done through a programme being implemented by the Immigration Service with a Spanish grant to enhance border security in the country.

Alhaji Issahaku Saliah, Upper West Regional Minister, said Ghana was not immune to the threat of transnational crime and criminal action from foreign elements within the country and commended the GIS for being proactive in introducing intelligence-led immigration control into its operations.

He urged officers of the service to exercise high level of discipline and decorum in the performance of their duties as the success of the policy was dependent on how officers were prepared to commit themselves. Alhaji Saliah said with the discovery of oil and gas in the country, there was bound to be an increase in the number of visitors into the countr= y and among them would be people who would want to exploit, therefore, building the capacity of immigration officers would enable them to live up to the task.