The Bono Regional Police Command is investigating the circumstances leading to the registration of about 63 persons suspected to be Ivorians who allegedly entered Ghana illegally and participated in the just-ended voters’ registration exercise conducted by the Electoral Commission.
They were arrested by security personnel, led by operatives of the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) at Douboo, one of the unapproved entry points on the Ghana-Cote D’Ivoire border, after they had successfully been registered and issued with their voters’ ID cards in the Banda constituency in the Bono region.
Luck eluded them when the Ivorian registered KIA Rhino truck they were traveling on back to Cote D’Ivoire broke down at the border post, which is in the Jaman North constituency.
The arrest of these suspected Ivorians may appear to give credence to the government’s decision to beef up security at the country’s borders, ahead of the registration exercise.
At the time of filing this report, the suspected Ivorians had been sent to Sunyani, the Bono regional capital, by the GIS and handed over to the Police for further action.
The Second-in-Command of the GIS in Sunyani, Chief Superintendent Henry Akar, told the media that some of the suspected Ivoirians managed to escape arrest while a few others have been hospitalised due to the trauma they claimed to have suffered at the hands of the Immigration officers during their arrest.
Beside the new voter ID cards, he said, most of them were also in possession of the recently issued Ghana cards, adding that both ID cards belonging to the suspects have been seized, pending further investigations.
When our reporter interacted with the suspects, it came to light that most of them cannot speak any of the Ghanaian languages and could only communicate in French while a few could speak the twi language.
When questioned, the driver of the Kia vehicle, Kwame Krah, said one Yaw at Tempi hired him to convey the people to Kabrono, in the Banda District, for the registration exercise.
In a related development, the Bono Regional NPP Chairman, Kwame Baffoe Abronye, is calling for the immediate arrest of Johnson Asiedu Nketia, the General Secretary of the opposition NDC, claiming that he was behind the bussing of the accosted Ivoirians into the country.
Chairman Abronye, as he is affectionately called, believes the suspects were part of some 2,000 Ivoirians who attempted to register earlier at Banda but were prevented by the military, as shown in a video that went viral on social media about a week ago.
In a statement, Chairman Abronye further alleged that Mr Asiedu Nketia personally hired the Kia Rhino truck, paid for it and brought the Ivorians into the country, housed them at Seikwa and helped them to register and acquire the EC cards.
The NPP Chairman also alleged that three of the Ivoirians are relatives of Mr Asiedu Nketia resident in Cote D’Ivoire.
“They are Ivoirians and not residents of Ghana. They were led into the country by Mr Asiedu Nketia and this vindicates the military for preventing 2000 persons loaded in the Kia Rhino truck who attempted registering in the constituency.
“I therefore call on the Ghana Police Service to immediately arrest, investigate and prosecute Asiedu Nketia for aiding and abetting illegitimate persons to Ghana to acquire Ghanaian ID cards illegally,” the statement partly read.