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Opinions of Friday, 23 July 2010

Columnist: Keyeke, Kofi

“Akoti Sikani Wants To Know”



His Excellency The president,

Suppose a platform is set for Ghanaians resident in Germany, Britain, Italy, United States of America, Canada, Belgium, Holland, and last but not the least Spain to come and share their life experiences that they have gone through as far as migrating to these foreign destinations, you would be shocked of the bitter experience stories that you would be told.

Mr. President, about 75 percent out of the total population of Ghanaians resident in foreign destinations have gone through certain bitter experiences suffered at the hands of their brothers, sisters, aunties, uncles, friends and even their fully blooded parents that at a point in time those victims regretted for migrating into these foreign destinations where their relatives resides.
As for these countries serving as foreign destinations for Ghanaians, they provide fair justice system, stable democracy and government where every resident is expected to be protected and live comfortably.
However, the problems is with fellow Ghanaian counterparts who struggle to get their family members over to these countries who do not treat those they sponsor very well and it is becoming a silent killer of late.
There are so many chilling experience stories to tell you which are bitter such as assisting someone to successfully migrate to any of these countries and seizing the passport of the newcomer, selling the passport of the true bearer to illegal immigrant to the disadvantage of the true bearer, forcing the newcomer to go into illegal marriage of convenience and charge exorbitant fees for bringing relatives over to foreign country.
Your Excellency, these issues needs to be tackled before they get out of hand and yes before it gets out of hand because it is appearing like a balloon hanging in the air which can burst at anytime and anyhow that will result in prosecution and deportation of many Ghanaians who pay reparations from their foreign destinations back to Ghana irrespective of their foreign country citizenship.
In recent times, many Ghanaians have successfully gone through the process of acquiring visas easily to authorized their stay in their new destination because of the respect the country has earned through successful general elections, free and fair democracy, freedom of association and human rights enjoyed as these foreign countries that Ghanaians live in practice the same.
However certain unscrupulous persons are taking advantage of this and turning into a gold mine where they force and get persons into the country only for them to seize their passports and other traveling documents that can identify them as such and make them live under the protection of of their foreign countries to use in fictitious deals.
These unlawful seizures by people who sponsor newcomers have created a long rift between families and friends and because most of the victims do not know where to go for solution to the problem is beginning to create serious violence.
But what are the main reasons for the seizures of the passports, permit cards and other traveling documents by sponsors from newcomers Mr. President you will ask? Several years ago when one sponsors another person to migrate to these foreign destinations, in order for you to pay back the money he spent in processing the documents, seize your documents so that after haven paid the full cost he then releases it to you .
Although this practice is still going on it has now worsen where sponsors be it a brother, sister, uncle, auntie, parents or friends, collects the money and insist that the newcomer document be used to in dubious marriage of another sister or brothers sponsorship to come over to the foreign destination.
Most at times the sponsor forge the documents where lies are told that the true bearer is marrying a lady or gentleman where the sponsor will charge another exorbitant fee between 15,000 to 20,000 dollars from the one being sponsored irrespective of the relationship and it goes on and on.
Your Excellency, what makes the whole thing sad is when the seizures is done and the dubious sponsorship does not go through, the true bearer of the documents seized is denied of quality health care, good employment and other facilities because he could not register for health insurance, social insurance and many more as the government is very strict on these security facilities and when one is not covered suffers a hard living here.
The fact is many sponsors hide the truth from the persons they are sponsoring to these overseas countries especially Canada and U.S.A by promising them juicy profit making jobs and educational benefits only for them to come and realize that they never exist and become captives of their sponsors.
There is an incident where a gentleman was sponsored by a sister and for ten years he lived in Canada never had peace with his sister as she seized his documents but died a painful death from heart attack after he forced and travel back to Ghana to live for good.
Another Ghanaian gentleman was sponsored into London by a fellow Ghanaian but unfortunately passed away after his fifth year from same heart attack he sustained as a result of hard thinking about how to retrieve his money saved through his friend who claimed he did not have documents and has to save through his accounts only to deny the victim access to the money.
There was a lady who was sponsored by a friend who after haven landed successfully in the country, had her passport and landed permit card seized from her on the third day of her arrival. Not knowing to this newcomer, her sponsor was going to use the document to sponsor her brother to come over to Canada by forcing her friend to the newcomer to pose as the wife who was sponsoring the guy which she did not agree leading to a long standing rift between them which ahs not been solved still.
Mr. President, there are so many people out there who have become gangsters because all their efforts to get their traveling documents released to them from their sponsors who seized them that will make them legible residents in their foreign destinations have failed therefore breaking away from their homes and joining gangs.
There are a lot of people out there who are suffering same but do not know how to get over it. Some are working only for their wages and salaries to be paid into secret accounts only own by their sponsors and do not know when they will finish paying as you may have heard from the news reported from London recently.
What is obvious to observe is that most of these foreign countries including Canada is only looking at illegal immigrants and not seeing how to get those with resident permit but have their passports and resident permit cards seized from them by their sponsors enjoy their stay in these countries by benefiting fully from all the services the countries provide.
Your Excellency, what is sad is that many of these countries with specific mention to Canada do not condone abuses as the government insist that Canadians and residents have the right to live together by making it important for everyone to learn about his or her right and duties in the country by knowing how the country’s charter of rights and freedoms work.
Mr. President, as a concern citizen of the land and a humble subject of you, I am raising the red flag on this issue so that the government through the ministry of foreign affairs will work hand in hand with the country’s embassies abroad to come out with a programme where people suffering from any human treatment can lodge a complain for resolution.
It should also be worked out for the for the ministry of foreign affairs to liaise with various immigration services of the afore mentioned countries where Ghanaians are to educate them much about their rights and should they find themselves in any trouble where they should go for advice or seek justice whiles the Ghanaian High Commissions, consulates and embassies should break their silence on the matter and stop pretending as if they are not aware of such treatments going and set up platforms inviting secret victims to come out and lodge complains for resolve.
Thank you Mr. President for the opportunity to reach out to you and lay bear my concerns before you and I am hopeful that you will take an action on it soon.
Yours faithfully