The Foreign Affairs Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey has indicated that her ministry will continue to provide assistance to Ghanaian migrants whenever they face challenges in their quest to seek greener pastures in Europe.
This was made known when the Member of Parliament for Builsa South, Dr. Clement Apaak, asked a question on measures put in place by the ministry to address a report by the International Organisation for Migration that sixty two thousand, four hundred and twenty two (62,422) Ghanaians are stranded in Libya.
The Ministry she noted will require additional time to ascertain the veracity of the figure that has been put out by the ILO. And will refer to parliament at a later date with more reliable information of the numbers of Ghanaians in Libya.
‘’On the question on what the ministry is doing to assist stranded Ghanaians, we wish to state that, we are aware of our mandate to protect and to promote the interest and welfare of our compatriots.’’
The Ministry has since April opened a consulate in Tripoli with experienced officers there. Another consulate has also been opened in Miami, Niger which is also a transit country to offer assistance to Ghanaians who require such services.
“Mr. Speaker, the ministry is aware that there are some stranded Ghanaians in Libya who contact the consulate in Tripoli for assistance, however, the figure put out by IOM in Accra conflicts with figures provided by IOM in Tripoli.
“This, coupled with the highly volatile situation in Libya has made it very difficult to obtain information of the actual number of Ghanaian nationals in that country. This is because Libya today has varse areas of its territory in the hands of rival militia groups operating outside the control of internationally recognised interim governments of national accord,” Mrs. Ayorkor Botchwey told Parliament Wednesday.
About 200 Ghanaians have also been repatriated since April 2018 through collaborative efforts between the Ministry and the ILO.
‘’I wish to reiterate that, despite the challenges, the ministry through its missions in Valetta, and the Consulate in Tripoli and Miami are deploying all available resources to offer assistance. If we ascertain the allege huge numbers, and it becomes necessary, government will consider evacuation,’’ she concluded.
As of March 2018, 62,422 Ghanaians were identified in different cities and detention centres in Libya, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Displacement Tracking Matrix has revealed.
That number, it said, ranks Ghanaians in Libya fifth after Egyptian, Nigerien, Chadian and Sudanese nationals out of 38 different nationalities in that country.
Since June 2017, a total of 706 (661 men, 45 women) Ghanaians stranded in Libya have been assisted to return home voluntarily with the majority of the returnees, 70 per cent, being returned from various detention centres in Libya, while the rest are from the cities.