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General News of Saturday, 28 August 2021

Source: GNA

Residents of Aflao call for the opening of the border

Residents turned up in their numbers to make the call for border reopening Residents turned up in their numbers to make the call for border reopening

Residents of Aflao, home to the busiest border in Ghana have called on the government to open the land borders saying, without the border, “there’s no Aflao."

The residents who turned out in their numbers for the much talked about, “Open Our Borders Now” demonstration meant to impress upon the government to open the land borders said they had suffered particularly economic hardship since the border closure occasioned by COVID-19 outbreak in March 2020.

The demonstration which took off from Denu Junction at 0800hours and lasted for three hours saw the demonstrators clad in red, march through the principal streets before rounding up at Victoria Park, Aflao.

Among inscriptions on placards the demonstrators carried read, “Closing Ghana-Togo border-locking down Aflao, Border closure collapses our business, Hunger is more deadly, Open our borders to save lives, African leaders and Clearing agents are suffering.”

Some of the demonstrators who spoke to the Ghana News Agency said they did not mind walking even for the whole day to tell the world of their suffering adding, the President needed to hear their plea.

“Aflao is synonymous with the border. You don’t have to say Aflao, just the border is enough. And to say that over a year and half our land borders have remained shut. We’ve endured so much. I used to buy stock from Togo for my business but since then, I’ve not been able to do anything.

As I speak to you now, I’m dried up. This is not just about me. All of us here who have come out are facing one challenge or the other. We need Mr President to open the land border so Aflao can live again. We’re dying,” Madam Patience Ama Bekoe lamented.

Mr Vincent Yao Adzogah, a border resident later read to the protesters, the petition copied to President Akufo-Addo, Mr Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo, ECOWAS President, Mr Faure Gnassingbé, Togolese President and Togbuiga Adzongaga Amenya Fiti V, Paramount Chief of Aflao Traditional Area through Mr Eliot Agbenorwu, Municipal Chief Executive for Ketu South.

The petition cited broken social and economic ties, shattering of the hospitality industry and the transport sector resulting from the continuous border closure to make a case for the borders to be opened.

“It is now very clear that this virus has come to stay, hence, the need for the government to strike a balance between containing the virus and maintaining the day-to-day economic activities that millions of Ghanaians living along the border depend on to survive.

Currently, the pandemic and its resultant border closures, trade restrictions, and confinement measures have affected the entire domestic food system of the border communities, most especially Aflao, therefore, threatening food security. The ripple effect has been a dying local economy, reduced access to health care, and job losses.”

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