More than 4,500 Ghanaians used irregular means to travel to Italy last year, the International Office for Migration (IOM) has revealed.
The number makes Ghana one of the leading African sending countries of irregular migrants to Europe seeking greener pastures.
“The numbers arriving in Italy from Ghana alone are certainly something to be worried about”, the Chief of Mission at the IOM, Ms Sylvia Lopez-Ekra, said.
Ms Lopez-Ekra made this known when she interacted with the leadership and members of the ECOWAS Community Development Programme (ECOWAS-CDP) Media Network in Accra.
The CDP Media Network, under the ECOWAS Vision 2020 project, is aimed at educating citizens across the region on the sub-regional integration policies and programmes.
Irregular means of travel involve travelling through the desert, stowaways using both maritime and air transport and fake documentation.
Ms Lopez-Ekra said she was worried that whereas there were stories of abuse and exploitation of many of those irregular migrants, the mentality of getting oneself from poverty continued to spur many to sojourn.
According to her, the IOM in 2015 recorded more than a million sea arrivals in Europe, almost five times the previous year’s total of 219,000.
Ms Lopez-Ekra said the IOM, in partnership with the government, would in the ensuing days launched the newly adopted national migration policy which sought to create a framework to address diaspora-related issues, including expertise, skills, remittances, education, health and students mobility.
She hinted the intention of the Ghana Office to create a migration data platform in the country for stakeholders to share information in the implementation of policy initiatives and objectives.
According to the national programmes officer at the IOM, Mr Kojo Wilmot, the organisation was building the capacities of immigration officers working at key border posts, for them to perform their functions more effectively.
“We have put together a legal migration handbook to serve as a one-stop shop for migration-related laws for easy reference,” he said.