Madam Abla Dzifa Gomashie, Member of Parliament (MP) for Ketu South in the Volta Region, has welcomed the decision of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to reopen land borders from January 1, 2022.
The decision to re-open the land borders was reached at a meeting of ECOWAS Ministers and the West African Health Organization (WAHO).
The recommendation, which was addressed to ECOWAS Heads of State, includes the effective implementation of harmonised instructions at the borders, mutual recognition of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for Covid-19, and the harmonisation of their period of validity.
The land borders of ECOWAS member states were closed following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in the region in 2020.
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency in Accra, Madam Gomashie, expressed joy over the decision of ECOWAS to reopen the land borders, saying “This is a welcome news”.
Madam Gomashie, who has been calling for the opening of ECOWAS Land Borders, said: “I have to be consistent; I have said on many platforms that I do not even believe that it was because of covid that the borders were closed but be that as it may, it has brought untold hardship to my people for two years because it is the one major source of income for the people.”
“It (the border closer) was just splashed on us and unfortunately, the Government didn’t take any decision on what social interventions they were going to put in place to fill the gap in the period that it was closed.”
She recalled that during the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, which affected the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area and the Greater Kumasi Metropolitan Area, the State provided food for the underprivileged to mitigate the impact.
“What happened in my constituency and other border communities was a lockdown. So, I felt that in the same room, where the decision was taken to lockdown the place, in that same room they should have taken a decision on what interim measures to take in order to cushion the people in the border communities from suffering”, she said.
“So, it has been extremely difficult coupled with the force majeure of the tidal waves coming at the same time, it had a really telling effect on the people.”
“…So, the inconsistencies in the messages that I hear has made me skeptical but I am hopeful if indeed, 1st January the borders are opened, I tell you I will kill a fowl and have a party in my house. I will be very happy because that is all we are looking for.”
Madam Gomashie said the people in Ketu South and all the other border communities would be breathing a sigh of relief, saying, “…it is almost like their very lives were being suffocated out of them. So, if the rope on their throat is released, they will be very happy.”
“So, on behalf of my people, we are grateful to ECOWAS for taking that decision, we are hoping that it will come to fruition.”