By Cecil Mensah
A group of French students, numbering over forty, and their tutors on March Sunday 20, 20016, were subjected to inhumane treatment and detained for several hours after their tutors refused to grease the palm of some unscrupulous Ghana Immigration Service officers stationed at the Aflao border in the Volta Region.
The students were returning from Togo after participating in a tournament dubbed, ‘Coutire’, meaning coastal games programme held among French teaching schools in the sub-region.
The students were from a French school (name withheld) in the plush East Legon area of the Greater Accra Region.
A source briefing The Herald in Accra after the incident said, the students together with their expatriate teachers, were unduly detained for two hours at the border by the immigration officers, without any reason whatsoever.
The undue detention at the border, the source said, stemmed from the refusal of the expatriate teachers insisting on their right to know what crime they have committed to be held at the border.
The Herald learnt that a handful of the children in the bus returning to Accra were very sick and needed medical attention, but the officers ignored the plea, insisting the children disembarked.
When matters got out of hand, the immigration officers interestingly, started hurling insults and invectives at the expatriate teachers for insisting on their rights.
The officers manning the entry point, which is supposed to give first hand impression of the country, on that Sunday turned the entry point into a market place by negotiating with the foreigners for money, the source added.
The source said, the immigration officers were crude and rude to the expatriate teachers, even though they had all their documents up to speed to enable them crossover to Ghana.
Confirming the story to The Herald in an interview, Mr. Francis Tsegah; one of the tutors, said the attitude of the officers was uncalled for, especially when they were informed that, there were wounded and sick children on board.
He explained that, the children with various degrees of injuries on the legs and arms, were made to disembark to lie on the floor.
He said what amazed him was the behavior of the Commanding officer of the border, who just walked to the scene and started throwing his weight about, insulting almost everybody.
When asked whether he was able to pick the name of the Commanding Officer; he added that in the heat of the argument with the officers, he failed to do so.
According to him, one of the expatriate tutors by name Sam, was badly heckled by the officers for demanding to know what crime he had committed.
He said, the commanding officer at the Aflao border, has no sense of courtesy and does not deserve to be at the entry point.
He said, the school has written to the French Embassy in Accra to take up the matter with the management of Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) for appropriate redress.