April 26, 2021

Member of Parliament for Bawku Central and a member of the Community Parliament, Mahama Ayariga, is calling on the Government of Ghana to open its land borders between Burkina Faso and Togo.

According to him his constituency borders Burkina Faso and also not too far from Togo and the closure of the borders is affecting commerce and livelihoods of his constituents.

In an interview he noted that his call is purely constituency related, and he has been making these calls for sometimes now. “If government feels the threat of COVID-19 infection is so high, equal mechanism for testing should be put in place like it is done at the airports”.

“It is discriminatory to open the airports and continue to close the land borders. When aircraft is a means of transport, those who can afford to travel by air come into the country, but those who cannot afford to travel by air cannot come into the country?”

He added that with the advent of technology people should be given the options, so that those who can afford to pay for testing at the borders to cross into Ghana and other neighboring countries to do so.

Again, he emphasised that ECOWAS member states should engage bilaterally with their neigbours to see what mechanism can be put in place to ensure their citizens would be able to cross their land borders.

Mr. Ayariga noted that what is happening now is more dangerous, since borders within the sub-region are porous and if borders are closed ECOWAS citizens are not stopped from crossing from one side to the other.

As trying hard to monitor crossing over the borders is not an easy task. “I know what I am talking about I live there in Bawku Central and if anyone want to cross from Burkina Faso and Togo they can do so whether you open the border or not”.

Also it is only those who want to do legitimate traveling carrying goods and services, normally get frustrated and those who really must cross, can just walk across unapproved routes.

In addition he noted that the infrastructure needed to monitor the entire border relative to the infrastructure needed to be put at the borders is more expensive, because there are two hundred unapproved routes within hundred kilometers radius per border.

Unless you are able to marshal over three hundred security personnel to cover the entire area. Look at what happened in the case of Togo and Ghana, where government of Ghana said they have moved all those troops there, to prevent people crossing because of COVID-19.

“So you can imagine the cost of keeping troops at the border, relative to setting up a COVID-19 testing centre and even subsidizing it, doing it at a lower cost for citizens who want to travel, your life could be easier than the cost of putting troops there to monitor individuals crossing. You put troops there and still not be able to monitor the people crossing”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com