Akwatialine residents worried about influx of migrants from Niger …in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic

Some residents of Akwatialine, particularly those close to the Central Mosque, in Kumasi, are living in anxiety following the influx of migrants from Niger in the wake of the spread of COVID-19.

The number of the migrants keeps soaring every day and residents doubt whether they had been tested against the COVID-19, though it is yet to be heard of any infection of the disease in that country, (Niger).

With the closure of the Nigerian border, it is possible for the migrants to come to Ghana through Burkina Faso and the question many of the residents are asking is whether they were tested against the disease, if they passed through approved routes.

Residents’ anxiety stemmed from a recent video that went viral on social media of foreigners entering the border at Paga with no official attending to them.

The migrants, mostly women, some nursing mothers, children aged between three and four years, have “hijacked” the walkway leading to the entrance of the Central Mosque, where they have turned into “kitchen” and “bathroom,” especially in the evening.

They are here in Kumasi as beggars and they are seen mostly “doing serious business” along the Amakom traffic light begging for alms.

It is recalled that the Ghanaian Times in its August 2, 2019 edition, carried a similar story titled, “Migrants Take over Walkway to Kumasi Central Mosque.”

In fact, from 4:30 pm throughout the night, the place is very busy as cooking and washing of clothes and bathing of little children become the order of the day, while they use the porches of the stores close to the mosque as their “bedrooms.”

In a chat with some of them, who declined to mention their names, they claimed Ghanaians are religious, easily give alms, and would not harm them.

Asked why they have come to Ghana as the political atmosphere in their country is stable, they complained of economic hardship claiming that they had no better work in their country and, therefore, are here to seek greener pastures.

According to them they are emotionally and psychologically sound because they believe that no one would harm them as they sleep on the porches of the stores.

Some residents the Ghanaian Times encountered, recalled that in 2018 the immigrants were about 100 in number but, most of them left in December for their country and came back with other batches when the new year, 2019 began.

The Assemblyman of Zongo electoral area, Hussein Mohammed, also known as Alhaji Bawa, when contacted expressed concern but indicated there was little he could do, however he would liaise with the authorities of the Central Mosque and the District Assembly to deal with the situation.

FROM KINGSLEY E. HOPE, KUMASI

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