The repatriation of some one thousand Nigerien nationals from Ghana is good news, we relish without inhibitions.
Until the action, the outcome of cooperation between the government of Ghana and her Niger counterpart on the subject, Ghanaians grumbled about the nuisance and eyesore the unwelcome guests were enacting on our streets and elsewhere in the country.
The Nigerien illegal migrants were not only found on the medians of our ornamental roads but even in Kumasi.
Their children, who do the begging as their parents or so sit under trees or nearby shades, are so persistent in their demands that their victims sometimes wonder whether nothing could be done about them.
Some of us understood why it was not as easy to deal with the subject as many thought. Diplomatic repercussions of unplanned repatriation and the cost element are factors worthy of consideration under such circumstances.
Negative impressions at the ECOWAS level can be costly, diplomatically. Countries embittered about seeming maltreatment of their nationals, illegal or not, can easily turn their backs on us when issues of support during bloc voting take place. Such voting are done when for instance, a country seeks the support of the others to host a continental or regional office for trade matters or others.
Government, therefore, has to tread cautiously. The repercussions of the Circle attacks on Nigerian traders cost the government and for that matter, the country, so much at both the ECOWAS and AU levels.
Under difficult circumstances, we have to tread cautiously lest we are tagged xenophobic. We are where we are today relishing a picture of streets without beggars some of them brought in by agents who take commissions from the proceeds the beggars, some of them juveniles, make, because of diplomacy.
We can only imagine the cost of the repatriation and the drain on Niger, a country struggling like others during these post-COVID times.
All said and done, our excitement over Accra streets without the beggars could be short-lived. Most of them could be preparing to return to Ghana when their expectations at home are dashed. Their home country has suggested social interventions for them at home but we cannot vouch for the fulfillment of same.
These are persons who breached our borders to come and beg because the notion in their home country is that, Ghanaians are so hospitable and charitable that they dole out monies to beggars as though they have wronged God. That is the impression they have about Ghanaians in their home country.
Our borders are porous, manned by a thin-layer of immigration officers whose efficiency is challenged by a long land border.
The foregone notwithstanding for those who return they must be returned as soon as they set foot on the country’s soil. Allowing so much time to elapse before returning them would land us in the pre-repatriation state.
The authorities should involve the Niger embassy in monitoring the landscape for the return of the beggars.
Source: Daily Guide/Editorial
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