The Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) on Wednesday cautioned youth in the country to desist from migrating through irregular routes to Europe to save their lives.
According to the GIS only five percent of all migrants who attempted to get to Europe through the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea were able to reach their destination.
Unfortunately, the remaining 95 percent end up in detention camps and prisons, while others die of thirst, hunger, human abuse and torture on the desert or through accidents on the high seas be drowning.
The Deputy Commissioner of Immigration (DCI) Eric Afari, the Bono Regional Commander of the GIS gave the advice at the opening session of a three-day capacity building workshop for officers of the Migration Information Center of the GIS (MIC), held at Abesim near Sunyani.
Being organised by the European Union (EU) in partnership with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), the workshop on safe migration and Information and Communication Technology would empower officers to exert their mandate effectively and professionally.
DCI Afari regretted that irregular migration among young people particularly, in the Bono, Bono East and Ahafo Regions was rife, saying only a little over 50 percent of all migrants’ returnees from Libya came from the three regions.
He said the MIC established in Sunyani, the Bono Regional capital in 2016 made significant impact and tremendous achievements towards preventing irregular migration among the youth in the three regions, and commended the EU and IOM for the center.
Since then, DCI Afari said the number of Libya migrant returnees reduced from 18,512 in 2011 to 4,031 in 2017 and further dropped to 741 2018.
“It is also significant to note that of the 2011 figure, 52 percent of the returnees came from Bono, Bono East and Ahafo Regions. This figure reduced to 39 percent (1,562) in 2017, and further dropped to 38 percent (284) in 2018”.
He attributed the dramatic reduction of the number of returnees partly to the impact of the consistent sensitization campaigns of the MIC, which was a reference point for potential migrants to verify the genuineness of their traveling documents.
Funded by the EU, Mr Collins Yeboah, the Community Outreach Officer, IOM-Ghana, later told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) his outfit was implementing the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa action to strengthen the protection and reintegration of migrants in Ghana.
The overall objective of the action is to contribute to strengthening the governance of migration and ensuring sustainable reintegration of returning migrants in the country.
Under the project, Mr Yeboah said IOM had supported 1,500 Ghanaians to return to their home country with the majority of them from the Bono, Bono East, Ahafo, Ashanti, Greater Accra and Western Regions. Recently, there were increasing cases of high returns in the Northern region with over six percent of returns, he added.