The Deputy Brong-Ahafo Regional Commander of the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), Superintendent Emmanuel Manfu, has advised residents in the area who wish to seek greener pastures abroad to obtain the necessary facts from the Migration Information Centre which has been established in Sunyani in the Brong Ahafo Region.
The centre, he explained, aimed at minimising risks and dangers associated with migration by the youth who were often lured with promises and later exploited by fraudulent employment agencies.
Supt Manfu, who was speaking to the Daily Graphic on the sidelines of the International Migrants Day celebration at the Sunyani Senior High School, said the centre had been established to enable would-be migrants and the general public to obtain knowledge of legal, orderly, voluntary and safe migration to various countries, through informal and personal counselling.
He said the celebrations and various sensitisation programmes earmarked by his outfit were targeted at students in senior high schools to educate and inculcate the spirit of “I can make it in Ghana” in them.
The celebration brought together hundreds of SHS students drawn from various schools in the region and some staff of the Ghana Immigration Service.
As part of the Ghana Integrated Migration Management Approach (GIMMA) project, the GIS, together with its partners, had embarked on several activities, including the celebration of the migration day and cultural display activities, as part of measures to educate the youth on migration issues.
Many Ghanaians including citizens of the Brong Ahafo Region are needlessly losing their lives as they attempt to travel using irregular means.
The GIMMA project is therefore intended to contribute to the government’s effort at managing migration by enhancing institutional capacities of the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) to implement effective migration management measures including increasing awareness of potential migrants on safe and legal migration.
The project is being funded by the European Union and implemented jointly by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and GIS.
The Project Manager of the IOM, Madam Kazumi Nakamura, disclosed that this year, 4,812 migrants died in the Mediterranean. Out of 381,307 migrants who arrived in Europe, 357,249 travelled by sea.
She stated that between January and August this year, 3,457 Ghanaians arrived in Italy by boat, adding that the actual number of Ghanaians might not be known, because some of them might have lost their lives on the way.
“Although no official statistics exist to show the numbers involved in irregular migration, an increasing number of Ghanaians, especially young people, are risking their lives looking for opportunities abroad,” Madam Nakamura added.
According to her, irregular migration put migrants’ lives at risk of being trafficked and exploited and therefore made it difficult for them to gain access to basic rights and protection.
For her part, the acting Brong Ahafo Regional Director of the Centre for National Culture (CNC), Madam Hellen S. Akabong, called on the government, traditional and opinion leaders in the various communities to create a conducive business environment that would enable the youth to stay and work comfortably in their respective communities.