The Aflao Sector Command of the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) has appealed to residents at border communities to cooperate with its officers and not frustrate their work.
Assistant Superintendent of Immigration (ASI) Justice Kudzo Normeshie, Officer in charge of Immigration Professional Standards and Ethics (IPSE) at the Command, said it was important for residents to collaborate with border control officials to guarantee the safety of all in the face of threats posed by terrorist activities in neighbouring countries.
Mr Normeshie was addressing a meeting of chiefs, religious leaders and identifiable groups in the Akporkploe Electoral Area at Kiexorme to sensitise them to help contribute to preventing activities of violent extremist groups.
The meeting formed part of a 22-month project, "Prevention and Countering Extremism and Terrorism: The Role of Civil Society and the Private Sector, being implemented by Ghana Integrity International (GII) in collaboration with the GIS with funding from the European Union.
The project is under the Strengthening Border Security in Ghana (SBS Ghana) project through the contracting organisation, International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD)
led by Ghana Society and Sector, being ASI Normeshie said operations of the Service, a state agency, with an objective to ensure the effective administration and management of movement of people in the country and, contribute to national security were based on rules and regulations, thus, officers must be allowed to carry out their duties without hindrances.
He cited some interferences and resistances GIS officials had to encounter from border residents and commercial motor riders at the various unauthorised border crossing points designated as "Beats" and "Pillars" and stressed, there are only two points in Aflac, the main border post and "Beat Nine through which to cross into or out of the country.
"...all the other routes are unapproved. The state trained, equipped, and brought us here to, among others, prevent migrants from crossing through the illegal points. Some officers out of consideration may allow you to cross through some of these unapproved points. When that happens, do not take it as a right but a privilege.
Some of you even attempt to front for illegal migrants. What you do not know is, aside from the possibility of welcoming undesirable migrants, there is also the issue of revenue loss to the stateJust do not frustrate our work.
Allow us to do our profiling, demand identity cards, etc."
The Senior Immigration Officer bemoaned the May 20 attack on a team of officers on patrol duties at "Beat 6" and said such acts only project the border town in negative light urging the residents, "let's change the story of Aflao.
A participant, Dometor Beke, said the meeting was a revelation for her because she thought as people living along the border with Togo (separated by trees and bushes" it was permissible for them to freely move across and do petty trading with their neighbours.