The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway has appealed to all Ghanaians to make it a priority to register with Ghana Missions in the countries they visit or with some known associations for easy identification and accountability during times of troubles, as what is happening in Ukraine.
She said at a press conference in Accra on Sunday February 27 that it becomes difficult for the government to account for Ghanaians in foreign lands when they do not register with the Missions or join known associations such as the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS).
She told the press that “We have called for peace, we have called and cautioned against the situation and the difficulties it can bring to ordinary citizens of Ukraine and also our own people who are there.
“We were working with the student associations, they were sending us the list of all the students who are there. Let me take this opportunity to say this, many students go outside Ghana to study and they do not even want to be part of any group or any association, or to register with our Missions.
“Any citizen of Ghana who leaves the shores of Ghana must register so that when there is a situation like this immediately, you can be reached and you can be accounted for, unfortunately, they don’t.
“Fortunately, many Ghanaian students in Ukraine are with the associations and NUGS, so we have been able to work with these groups to get them but otherwise, it is difficult. We keep saying this over and over and nobody pays heeds to it.”
The Government has also asked the general public to be cautious about unscrupulous persons posing as government officials designated to assist in the evacuation exercise for Ghanaian nationals in Ukraine due to the Russia conflict.
This caution was contained in a press release issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration that was announcing the contact details of persons assigned to assist with the evacuation exercise, on Saturday February 26.
The Government of Ghana is evacuating Ghanaian students to neighboring countries – Moldova, Belarus, Slovakia and Hungary – due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
A statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration on Friday February 25 said “The Ministry through its Mission in Berne, Switzerland and the Honourary Consulate in Ukraine are in touch with the Ghanaian students in Ukraine through their leaders.
“A list of students has been compiled to facilitate an evacuation exercise.”
The National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) had maintained that evacuating Ghanaian students from Ukraine is the single most effective response to the conflict.
In a petition to the government on Friday February 25, NUGS said “We therefore make the following recommendations which must all be geared ultimately towards evacuation, Parliament should direct and supervise our mission in Switzerland through the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs to take immediate steps to make food, water and sanitary materials available to students while preparation for evacuation is underway.
“The embassy must improve its communication with students and establish formal means of giving out information to reassure the students who are losing hope in our systems.”
Meanwhile, the first batch of Ghanaian students stranded in Ukraine has been safely evacuated to Romania, 3news.com can confirm.
The students, who were in Chernivtsi, were evacuated as part of arrangements made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration via Ghana’s Mission in Berne, Switzerland.
The Ministry on Friday night conceded that as a result of the difficulty in airlifting Ghanaian students due to a shutdown of Ukrainian airspace, arrangements were rather made the evacuation be by land through neighbouring Moldova, Belarus, Slovakia and Hungary.
So far, those in Romania will be taken care of by the Romanian government as per the arrangements made by the Foreign Ministry.
Another batch is on its way to Hungary while a bus will be available on Monday to take the remaining to Poland, whose border is said to be choked.
By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana