Repatriation good, but strengthen borders- Security Analyst  

A Security Analyst, Dr Festus Aubyn, says the recent repatriation of Nigerien irregular migrants is a step in the right direction, but it will be an exercise in futility if the country’s borders remained porous.

He has, therefore, urged the government to fix the weaknesses in the nation’s border control and management system of which the foreign nationals took advantage to illegally enter the country.

“Those [irregular migrants] who were repatriated; how did they get into the country? If we don’t address the loopholes in the immigration control system that enabled them to enter the country, the exercise would just be one in futility because as far as those weaknesses exist, these people would always find ways to come back to the country,” he told the Ghanaian Times yesterday.

The telephone interview was on the back of last week’s repatriation of about 1,000 Nigerien irregular migrants, mostly beggars, under an arrangement between the government and the Nigerien Embassy.

The move has been applauded by the public as it has reduced the nuisance the beggars cause on the streets, while it could reduce the threat of terrorism given that some of these immigrants could be recruited by terrorists.

According to DrAubyn, the deportation was a good initiative because it was not forcefully done, but through a collaboration between the government and the Nigerien Embassy in Ghana as internationally recommended.

On the linkage of illegal immigrants to terrorism, he said, it was possible as a number of studies had shown how migrants had been used in terrorist attacks in the Sahel Region and northern Nigeria.

However, he said, it was not only irregular migrants who could be recruited by terrorists, but regular migrants and even Ghanaian street children and youth could be vulnerable.

Dr Aubyn said the Ghanaian street children could be vulnerable because they lacked good parenting, quality education and economic means so most of them as they grow up are ready to do anything to survive.

He, therefore, suggested that the government and philanthropists should help take them off the streets and be given skill training, startup capital and education for the children, to enable them to have alternative livelihood

He also advocated strong and enforceable laws to prevent people from begging on the streets.

If the country was serious about to dealing with terrorism, he said, root causes should be addressed in a comprehensive matter by dealing with issues including poor governance, unemployment, economic hardships, rising food and fuel prices which results in hardships and creates vulnerability.

Dr Aubyn said the country also needed to tackle issues of ethnic conflicts in Bawku and other areas and find finality to them as they could be entry points for the terrorist groups.

 He also asked that unprofessionalism in the security services should be checked so that unscrupulous persons who have found their way into the services would be moved out so they don’t become accomplices to terrorists.

BY JONATHAN DONKOR

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