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General News of Thursday, 29 March 2012

Source: Al-Hajj

300 Year Stay In Ghana Does Not Make You A Ghanaian

Bizarre Xenophobia from Kumasi

300 Year Stay In Ghana Does Not Make You A Ghanaian-Immigration

From: Alhaji Bashiru Zakari, Kumasi.

The Zongo Community in Kumasi are angry over growing xenophobia and ethnic discrimination after a leading member of the community denied a passport because of his ethnic identity and origin.

The Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) was said to have argued that, there is nothing called Hausa tribe in Ghana and therefore anybody who has his/her ethnic origin outside Ghana is not a Ghanaians.

“Being in Ghana for more than 300 years does not make you a Ghanaian”. This came to light at a well attended press conference in Kumasi by the Zongo Community calling on the government to clarify the position of members of their tribe in Ghana. The Chairman of the Zongo Community in Kumasi, Alhaji S. M. Shariff, told a press conference that they are dreading the ongoing consequences of this year’s voter’s registration exercise, as they fear a problem of citizenship and identity, which they experienced during the population census exercise in 2010, will re-occur again.

The call also follows the recent refusal by the official of the Ghana Immigraton Service (GIS) in Kumasi to grant a Ghana Passport to one Malam Shaibu Suleimana, because the GIS officials claim he is a Hausa by tribe and does not qualify for a Ghanaian passport.

Malam Shaibu, who doubles as the Vice-Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the Subin Constituency in Kumasi, said he was refused a Ghanaian Passport though he fully satisfied the requiements needed for one to be granted a passport. Alhaji Shariff said, Malam Shaibu then informed the Sarkin Zongo of his predicament. The Sarkin Zongo, according to the chairman tasked some people to verify the allegation made by Malam Shaibu Suleimana against the Ashanti region passport office.

“After the committee found the information to be true, the Zongo chief reportedly had a discussion with the Director of Passport in Kumasi, one Mr. Sylvester and explained to him that the Hausas in Ghana are real Ghanaians whose history date back 300 years ago”. He added.

According to him, the Director, Mr. Sylvester asked one Mr. Essah to deal and resolve the issue amicably so that Malam Shaibu could have his passport, but the immigration officer continues to demand proof of his Ghanaian identity after producing documents such as Voters ID, Birth Certificate and Subin NDC card amongst others.

Alhaji S.M. Shariff, who is also a former Diplomat and a leading Member of the Ashanti Regional New Patriotic Party (NPP), said the attitude of officials at the passport office was a clear violation of the fundamental human rights of the applicant.

“We want the government to come clear on the citizenship of Hausa people in Ghana in order to put an end to the confusion”, he added

Alhaji Shariff made reference to a Daily Graphic pubilcation of 20th March, 2012 with headlined “Citizenship not by Bith Certificate”.

He said it was against this backdrop that they would require the government to publicly come out to explain the position of Hausa people in Ghana.

“We are Hausa of Ghana and not Nigeria, Cameroun, Niger, Sudan and Benin and our forefathers were in the country even before the state Ghana was born, so there should be no doubt about the citizenship of a Hausa man in Ghana but events in recent times give us cause to worry. We therefore want the government to come out once and for all to end all these fuss about our citizenship”, he noted.