The President of the National House of Chiefs, Togbe Afede VIX, has said that it is high time the international frontiers, which separated Ghana and her neighbours for several decades, became points of reunification among them.
He described as a crime against humanity the separation of families with blood bonds by imaginary borders sketched by colonial authorities.
Togbe Afede, who is also the Agbogbomefia of Asogli, in the Volta Region, made the call at the Leklebi-Kame, a border post in the Afadzato South District, on Saturday when he led a delegation of chiefs from the Volta Region House of Chiefs on a tour of some border traditional areas.
The tour was prompted by persistent reports of dehumanising treatment being meted out to people in some border communities by personnel of the security agencies in the wake of the ongoing voter registration in those areas.
Togbe Afede noted that the inappropriate citing of some borders posts in Ghana, far away from the pillars demarcating Ghana and Togo had resulted in a situation in which some Ghanaians were being deprived of their status and citizenship and were being persecuted at the voter registration centres without justification.
At Leklebi-Kame for instance, the immigration control post is situated about 300 metres from the pillars between the countries.
As result, many Ghanaian families whose houses are on that vast stretch of land in Ghanaian territory behind the gate at the border post are now trapped there, as they cannot cross the gate into the main town due to the closure of the border.
Consequently, they have lost their livelihood as they can longer visit their farms on the other side of the gate.
Some Senior High School students who live behind the gate were unable to return to school due to the situation.
Meanwhile, Ghanaian families whose houses are behind the gate can no longer walk to Tornu in Togo to grind their corn, a situation worsened by the collapse of cross-border petty trading between Leklebi and its neighbours on the Togo side of the border.
During the visit to the immigration post by the chiefs, some children behind the gate looked on desperately in the hope of catching a glimpse of the family members on the other side of the gate.
Togbe Afede pointed out that the European colonial authorities who separated kith and kin in Africa by drawing fantasy frontiers on paper with their pencils now had no borders in their continent.
“So why can’t we live in peace and unity as people of the same blood, culture and language on our God-given land,” he sought to know.
Assistant Superintendent of Immigration in-charge of the Leklebi-Kame border post, ASI Iddris Yunus, explained that the country’s borders were still officially closed, and that the closure was being enforced without compromise.
He said that personnel of the military were deployed along the unapproved entry points in the area to ensure that the border closure was not flouted.
ASI Yunus said there had never been any case of people crossing into Leklebi from Togo to take part in the voter registration exercise as alleged earlier.
FROM ALBERTO MARIO NORETTI, LEKLEBI-KAME