The existence of the Interpol
Police Organisation (INTERPOL) protocols notwithstanding the Economic Community
of West African States (ECOWAS) must deepen policing co-operation among the
membership of the union. Historical realities and facts on the ground make such
co-operation between Ghana and Nigeria – the two major Anglophile countries in
West Africa – even more desirable.
The two are bound by a reality
of history dating back to over two hundred years, with both having been colonial
stable mates under British administration. The intermarriages which have taken
place between their peoples and trading activities have both impacted such
dynamics as in demography and language. Hausa is today recognized as one of the
most widely spoken languages in Ghana, with its origin being northern parts of
Nigeria, where Frederick Luggard Indirect Rule system of colonial
administration held sway.
The foregone realities and the
fact of ECOWAS protocols have facilitated free movement of peoples of the two
countries. While most movements are legal and accounting for a substantial
inter-country trading activities a few but with telling effects on national
security such as the kidnap of the Takoradi girls have been recorded.
The ordinary man on the street
thinks it is an easy thing to manage and would easily pray government take
drastic and outrageous actions which are untenable in modern diplomacies,
especially as far as the two countries are concerned.
Managing the challenges which
are bound to crop up in our relationship under the circumstances is rather
Herculean and requires a lot of finesse.
Another suspect in the Takoradi
kidnap story has been arrested in Nigeria through a joint Ghanaian and Nigerian
police operation. This is a pointer to how criminals can cross borders into
Ghana, driven by ill-motives. The co-operation between the detectives of the
two countries made it all possible.
The phenomenon of criminals
with Nigerian identities migrating to Ghana is not a thing which can be
eliminated overnight. It can only be managed.
Co-operation between the law
enforcement agencies of the two countries cannot be marginalized because the
dividends are enormous as in the arrest of the fourth suspect outside Ghanaian
Ghanaian criminals can flee
their home country to seek refuge in Nigeria with the connivance of their
colleagues and it is only such a co-operation which can lead to their arrest
and extradition to Ghana.
Therefore, it is our standpoint
that periodic engagement in the form of conferences should be included in the
annual diary of events of the Nigerian Police Force and their Ghanaian
counterparts and representatives of their immigration services. The signal that
these engagements would send to Ghanaian criminals and their Nigerian counterparts
is of deterrent value. When criminals know that none of the two countries
offers them the safe haven that they are seeking they would be mindful of their
It is our position also that
the two police entities through ECOWAS should create and share a database of
criminals of their countries.
The head of the Ghana
Immigration Service was recently a guest of his Nigerian counterpart during a
passing-out parade of Nigerian Immigration recruits in Kano, Nigeria.
Such engagements should form
the basis for the needed co-operation to fight cross-border crimes.