…Over treatment of visa applicants
Hon. Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, Member of Parliament for North Tongu, has expressed grave concerns over the seemingly bad treatment meted out to Ghanaian visa applicants by some embassies operating in the country.
According to him, it has become a sin, if not a crime, for Ghanaians to apply for visas in some embassies in the country, as the applicants are often treated with disdain by officials of those embassies.
Apart from that, applicants are sometimes denied visas, yet the embassies fail or refuse to refund monies paid for the visas.
Mr. Ablakwa bemoaned this in a statement he presented on the floor of Parliament in Accra yesterday.
The minority ranking member on the Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee described the treatment meted out to Ghanaian visa applicants as “shabby and dehumanizing,” noting that the foreign embassies have resorted to extorting monies from visa applicants.
“Mr. Speaker, it is indeed sad to observe that most of these embassies in question have made no provision whatsoever for a decent and safe waiting area where visa applicants may be hosted as they wait their turn during visa interview appointments.”
“I have personally made the effort to visit a number of embassies during their interview appointment periods, and what I have observed leaves me rather outraged,” he said,
Speaking on other aspects of poor treatment towards Ghanaian visa applicants, Mr. Ablakwa said, “You find fellow Ghanaians standing in open places, some left to wait at street shoulders and roundabouts with no one caring about the associated risk posed by motorists, others are left at the mercy of the vagaries of the weather.”
“To these embassies, they couldn’t be bothered if the sun is scorching, if it’s raining or even if there is a category five hurricane – they simply don’t seem to care.”
The North Tongu legislator further noted that thousands of Ghanaians continue to pay non-refundable sums for the visa services they seek, which in his view are no small amounts and therefore wondered why a fraction of the revenue generated by these embassies cannot be used to make basic provision of a waiting area for their visa clients.
He has therefore called on Parliament to use all available legal means at its disposal to seek reforms in how embassies treat Ghanaian visa applicants.
Other MPs joined him and expressed their discomfort over how visa applicants are being treated at the embassies in the country.
The Speaker, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye, therefore, directed the Foreign Affairs Committee to collaborate with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs to conduct investigation into why such inhumane treatment are meted out to Ghanaians.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/Felix Engsalige Nyaaba