About 30 Journalists and Stakeholders in the Western Region have been engaged in a day’s workshop under the Media Training and Public Sensitization on the Economic Community On West Africa States (ECOWAS) Migrants Rights Project.
Speaking at the official opening of the program, Deputy Western Regional Minister, Hon. Gifty Eugenia Kusi said the global menace of irregular migration has assumed alarming scale with majority of the youths risking their lives in search of greener pastures while many have fallen victims to human and child trafficking.
Hon. Gifty Kusi stated that the issue of free movement and migrants rights are vital to the Western Region due to influx of regular and irregular migrants who seek opportunities in the emerging Oil and Gas Industry and the abundance of natural resources including gold, diamond, bauxite and others. Moreover migration plays a central role in the livelihood enhancement in Ghana.
The Deputy Western Regional Minister disclosed that the government of Ghana is determined to support the growth of the Ghanaian media to effectively investigate and communicate all aspects of social lives including issues of irregular migration.
“I urged you to have keen interest in the lessons learnt to propose recommendations which will further strengthen the capacity of journalists to enable you design major strategies in promoting irregular migration issues in the Western Region”, Hon. Eugenia Kusi told Journalists.
Mr. Samuel Dodoo, Project Manager of the Support to Free Movement and Migration project in Ghana revealed that the project was launched on May 2017 by Hon. Mustapha Hamid at the Ministry of Information which was then followed by the establishment of the project steering committee with representatives from collaborative partners.
He added that several training on investigative journalism on Free Movement and Migration has been conducted in Western, Greater Accra, Northern and Ashanti regions respectively.
Also present at the workshop was the Ghana Immigration Service. Chief Superintendent Henrietta Ampaabeng hinted that the Service has been facing challenges with lack of sensitization and education or appreciation of the Ecowas protocol among member states.
Henrietta Ampabeng who doubles as head of enforcement at the Ghana Immigration Service further added that illegal migrants without documentations enter Ghana through unapproved routes.
However, there are people who enter the country through legal entry points but the immigration service is faced with issues of proper documentations. She said her outfit is collaborating with International Organizations for Migration to curb these challenges.
The Ghana Immigration Service has also established migration centres at Brong Ahafo Region and other relevant borders to educate citizens on the best practices of traveling and also tighten the various illegal entry points so as not to encourage movement of people without proper documentations.
The project was jointly funded by the European Union and the Ecowas Commission and being implemented by the International Organization for Migration “IOM”, the International Centre for Migration Policy Development “ICMPD” and the International Labour Organization.
Credit: BENJAMIN BRAY-TAKORADI