Ghana has made a case to convince its neighbours and the diplomatic community for personnel of the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) at border posts to bear arms.
The proposal is currently before regional bodies and the GIS hopes to secure approval to enable its personnel to carry arms before the end of the year.
The Comptroller-General of Immigration, Mr Kwame Asuah Takyi, during a working visit to command posts of the GIS in the Northern and Upper East regions, told the personnel that plans were afoot to ensure that they were armed.
His statement comes after several requests by personnel of the service to bear arms to help them secure the borders and deter miscreants from engaging in nefarious activities.
Arming GIS personnel has become imperative as a result of wanton threats at the entry points.
Ghana needs to go through the cumbersome process to get its proposal approved because from the start its personnel guarding the borders did not carry arms, while all its neighbours established an arms-carrying status for their Immigration personnel.
Mr Takyi visited the command and border posts to find out about the welfare of the personnel and their operational activities, know the challenges confronting them and inspect facilities, including projects in progress.
A report from the Public Affairs Department of the service said the first port of call by Mr Takyi and his entourage was the Northern Regional Immigration Command (NRIC), which includes the regional headquarters, the Yendi Sector Command and the Tatale and Saboba border posts.
The other areas were the Bunkpurugu and Wunjuga border posts.
The entourage also visited the Upper East Regional Immigration Command (UERIC), the Bawku Sector Command and the Paga and Namoo border posts.
The tour also took the team to the Zebilla Inland Border Post and the Pulimakom, Kulungugu and Mognori border posts.
Mr Takyi reiterated the GIS’s determination to put to rest challenges associated with transfer disparities and poor deployment plan through a human resource (HR) management solution that had been procured by the service.
He was appalled by the deplorable state of commands and border posts, as most of them were in ruins, with no washrooms, potable water and electricity supply.
Officers deployed to man those posts at the various entry points of the country had no decent lodging places either.
Addressing durbars of service personnel at the various commands and border posts, Mr Takyi assured them of the government’s resolve to repair and rehabilitate the border posts.
He said efforts were being made to provide suitable accommodation for the personnel.
“This, I believe, will not only boost the image of the country at the entry points but also boost your morale towards your assigned duties,” he added.
He said management was making prudent use of the service’s fiscal resources to ensure the timely disbursement of funds for programmes and projects.
Mr Takyi, however, bemoaned the poor maintenance culture by some of the commands and admonished them to take proper care of whatever resources were at their disposal.
Commenting on the memorandum of understanding signed between the GIS and the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) last year to integrate border management activities at the entry points of the country, the Comptroller General urged the personnel to ensure effective collaboration between the two agencies.
He also advised them to avoid any turf war, pointing out that “terrorists do not know a blue or green uniform”.
Mr Takyi commended the officers for their dedication to duty, in spite of the challenges they were confronted with, and urged them not to renege on their intelligence gathering and enforcement duties.
He was accompanied on the tour by his deputy in charge of Finance and Administration, Mrs Judith Dzokoto-Lomoh; the Chief Staff Officer, Chief Superintendent Lawrence Agyei Agyapong; the Deputy Chief Staff Officer, Supt Amoateng Enning, his Aide-de -camp and the Head of Public Affairs, Supt Michael Amoako-Atta.