Repatriation of Ghanaians may happen in phases – Foreign Ministry

Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, Charles Owiredu

The government, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, has said that, it has not taken a decision for Ghanaians stranded abroad to return home at a go, the repatriation process may occur in phases.

This follows the successful evacuation of some stranded 230 Ghanaians in Kuwait over the weekend, instead of the 245 initially announced.

Speaking at a press briefing yesterday to update the public on the returnees from Kuwait in Accra, a Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, Charles Owiredu, said the government cannot make a free-for-all repatriation decision on all those outside.

“It is going to be very chaotic if you look at the numbers… So the decision was taken that ‘let’s start with those from Kuwait’,” he said.

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According to him, the Ghana missions abroad have gathered data on Ghanaians who have expressed the desire to return home and government would therefore evacuate them in phases.

Though he could not put a finger on the specific number of Ghanaians stranded abroad, he was sure they are in the thousands.

The categories

He said some are in Yemen, Afghanistan, United Kingdom, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Niger, adding that the government had been supporting them with basic necessities of life while awaiting evacuation.

“In terms of our categorization, we listed these people from Kuwait as the first category, if any decision is made by government to bring our compatriots home,” he said.

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“We also had the category of people who traveled on their own as a result of the closure of airports…They had to stay back. But if they are willing to pay for their flight back home and the cost of quarantine, once an arrangement was made [it should cover them],” he added.

The third category of people include persons who are outside the country on behalf of the state. This category also includes students who are on government scholarships. The final category are travelers who lack the financial wherewithal to return home.

Mr Owiredu expressed appreciation to the National Security, Ghana Ambulance Service, Ghana Armed Forces, Ministry of Transport, National Disaster Management Organisation and the Ghana Airport Company for their cooperation in receiving the returnees.

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