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Government urged to open borders to citizens stuck abroad


Legal experts have urged government to open borders to allow citizens stuck abroad to return home.

Ghana’s borders will remain shut until May ending, President Akufo-Addo has said. The decision is part of many put in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

But this has left many Ghanaians who were outside the country before the closure of the border took effect, stranded.

Musicians Sarkodie, Pappy Kojo and Kwaw Kese are all stuck in various countries and have urged government to open up the borders.

Speaking at an online seminar dubbed ‘Law in crises’, Kenyan Professor of Law, Patrick Lumumba, said no piece of legislation can determine that a Ghanaian who is stuck in any part of the world should be denied entry.

“The law must allow me to get into Ghana and if for any public health reason I ought to be quarantined then I ought to be quarantined at the state’s cost.

“If the state takes care of prisoners, then how much more a citizen who is a victim of circumstances in a situation such as this,” he queried.

Prof Lumumba added that if there is a provision of that kind, President Akufo-Addo must “be told in no uncertain terms that that is a wrong provision and has no business in any piece of legislation.”

A PhD in Law candidate at the Oxford University, Maame Abena Mensah Bonsu agrees.

She said the closure of the borders to Ghanaian citizens makes them equivalent to criminals in other countries.

“Consider the men who went abroad on a six-month visa for a function and are stuck there because the borders to Ghana are closed and by the operation of their state are criminals in somebody else’s country. To me, it is a big concern

“We did do some mandatory quarantine and I understand that it is a bit expensive…but for the state of Ghana to make a Ghanaian a criminal in another country, I think that at its core, that makes you wonder why you should be a Ghanaian.”

Mensah Bonsu said government is allowed to impose restrictions on citizens who are in the country in times of an emergency but saying Ghanaians abroad cannot return home, especially in times like this, is worrying.

She asked government to “really consider is the restriction of entry into Ghana by citizens abroad.”

Legal scholar and governance expert Henry Kwasi Prempeh couldn’t agree more.

“If somebody is stuck, they must be stuck for reasons unrelated to a law in this country that denies them entry.

“It must be because the airlines are not flying,” not because of a law that denies them entry,” he said.

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