Coronavirus fight: We are not happy – Senior Immigration Officer laments to Nana Addo
Some officers of the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) are grudgingly concerned about their exclusion in government’s incentive packages for workers involved in the fight against COVID-19.
Health workers are set to receive rewarding packages from government spanning from tax waivers and allowances to increased salaries for a period of three months.
Though there are controversies around government’s view of who frontline health workers are, a senior officer of the Ghana Immigration Service (name withheld) has in a text seen by MyNewsGh.com bemoaned seeming neglect of officers of the service particularly those manning the country’s entry points.
According to the serviceman, immigration officers are practically frontliners but unfortunately are left to their fate with no resources and better shelter at most unapproved and approved entry points in the wake of the fight against the pandemic.
“So what is the president of Ghana trying to tell those of us working at our various entry points, ensuring that no one enters the country with the COVID 19 disease? If I was well informed, most of the cases we have in Ghana now were imported cases; meaning the victims contracted the virus outside the shores of Ghana and entered the country with it. There is no way a person can enter Ghana without passing through the hands of an immigration officer unless he/she entered through an unapproved route. So my question to the president: between those of us working at our various entry points and those you just gave an insurance package of GHS350,000 in addition to 50% allowance of their basic salary, who is at a higher risk of contracting the virus first?” he questioned.
He noted the risk immigration officers are exposed to patrolling the keeping an eye on entry points and how their efforts are helping to ward off persons from coming into the country following the ban on human entry.
He stated further that “Before you point out to us that our airports and land borders are closed, do not forget there are thousands of unapproved routes immigration officers are assiduously patrolling 24/7 to ensure these places are well secured. I work at the Ghana/Togo border at Aflao and I can attest to the fact that we have made arrests of not less than 200 travelers who entered the country illegally without been screened through our unapproved routes despite the closure of our borders.
We patrol without any personal protective equipments, arrest these travellers, sit together with them in the same vehicle to be transported to quarantine centers for the health professionals to check their status. Our activities for the past weeks since the closure of our borders has always been in the news, yet, despite all these risks we take to ensure that citizens of Ghana are protected from this deadly virus, the government has decided to turn a blind eye on our efforts.”
He pointed to difficult circumstances officers have found themselves in following the outbreak of the Corona Virus, adding that “To add more salt to injury, whiles some public and civil servants have been granted leave to stay home and enjoy the comfort of theirs beds because of COVID 19, our working hours as immigration officers has rather been increased without any allowance paid us. Immigration officers like myself who are on ‘study leave’ have been ordered to return to base because the country needs our services. Now, we are been forced to combine working tirelessly with attending lectures online due to the closure of schools.”
The obviously unhappy immigration officer stated that they are unable to hit the streets like other public servants to demonstrate or speak publicly about their plight, but the situation remains that they are not happy and need government’s consideration in the dishing out of packages as a result of the COVID-19 fight.
Source: mynewsgh.comFollow @Hypeghnews