Ghana’s Ministry of Interior and its Italian counterpart on Monday, signed a cooperation agreement, to enhance the management of immigration and border systems between the two countries.
Under the terms of the agreement, the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) and the Italian Public Security Department (IPSD), will among other things, collaborate to enhance the capacity of Ghana’s law enforcement agencies, including the Police Service and the Prisons Service to fight organized crimes such as illegal migration and human trafficking which have become global problems.
The IPSD will train and provide technical and equipment support for the GIS and the Ghana Police Service to strengthen the border management systems as well as the enforcement capacities to combat cross border threats.
It also seeks to provide exchange of information, joint operations and mutual visits between the two countries.
The issue of migration, especially the illegal ones, has become topical because of the disparity in the distribution of economic resources, causing many people to search for greener pastures where they are sometimes taken advantage of by unscrupulous persons.
Mr Cletus Avoka, Minister of Interior signed on behalf of Ghana whilst Mr Roberto Maroni, Italian Minister of Interior, who was accompanied by a ten-member delegation, signed on behalf of the IPSD.
In an address at the signing ceremony in Accra, Mr Avoka described the agreement as appropriate and coming at a time when the GIS was expanding its Border Patrol programme and required all the support, be it technical and financial to succeed.
He said the world had become a global village, making Ghana to face the same security challenges experienced by many other countries, a situation that required cooperation to fight organized crime, trans-border crimes, drug peddling, illegal migration and human trafficking among others, for the safety of her citizens.
“With increased sophistication and techniques of criminals everywhere, it is only through collaboration and cooperation that we can win the fight against them’ he said.
The Minister said by her geographical location, Ghana was prone to insecurities and trans-national crimes from unstable countries in the sub-region in respect of drugs, small arms peddling and human trafficking, adding that “the porous and artificial nature of our borders gives rise to the constant movement of persons, both licit and illicit’.
Mr Avoka said these issues presented the law enforcement agencies, especially the GIS and the Ghana Police Service with serious challenges and expressed the hope that the agreement would help deal with the situation.
He appealed to the Italian government to, in the spirit of the collaboration and cooperation agreement, extend assistance in all areas of security for the Ghanaian law enforcement agencies to curb and fight crime in the country.
Mr Maroni said his visit, which was the first of that country’s cabinet Minister to Ghana, was to improve trade and economic relations between both countries.
He said Italy was in the fore front, fighting for international peace and trade improvements, and praised Ghana for her efforts at improving the lot of her people as well as leveraging the investment climate, allowing for equal opportunities for both local and foreign business players.
He later donated to the Ministry, 11 vehicles, comprising nine Toyota Land Cruisers, out of which two would be used as ambulances and two Toyota Coaster buses to enhance the activities of the law enforcement agencies.
Mr Avoka thanked the Italian government for the gesture and assured that the vehicles would be used judiciously.
Relationship between Ghana and Italy dates back to Ghana independence era and both countries have been working to strengthen and consolidate it through bilateral commitments.
Present at the ceremony were Dr Apea Kubi, Deputy Minister of Interior, Mr Luca Fratini, Italian Ambassador to Ghana, the Inspector General of Police, Heads of the GIS and the Ghana Prisons Service.