Travelling inside of West Africa should be easy and pleasurable. It should be mainly because all the 15 nations around the world in West Africa are users of the Financial Group of West African States (ECOWAS), and are signatories to the arrangement on absolutely free motion of their citizens.
But that is not the circumstance. Travelling by street and often by air in the location is an ordeal. Customs, immigration and law enforcement officers harass, intimidate and extort cash from travellers. The working experience which need to be nice, often turns out to be negative.
In 2007, some good friends and I travelled from Lomé to Accra. Following passing through the Aflao border and experienced our passports checked and stamped, we imagined we had been all set as we are now on the Ghanaian territory.
The trip went pretty very well till we attained Sogakope. There, we had been requested to phase out of the car or truck at another immigration checkpoint.
All the travellers in the bus have been asked to give GH¢5. When I requested why, we were being told that was the rule and if I was to go to Accra, I ought to fork out the GH¢5. As a 17-year-previous travelling for the very first time out of my nation, I wrongly assumed that was the regulation and obliged.
Nine yrs down the line, I pay a visit to Ghana from my nation Togo and the exact scenario occurs. This time about, I was effectively knowledgeable that it was illegal and these brokers had been collecting funds arbitrarily from travellers.
Tiny did I know that my fate as a Togolese was significantly much better than other international nationals. In October 2018, some Haitian-American buddies and I made a decision to go to Accra. I flew in but they joined by land from Togo.
They had been asked to pay out $100 every irrespective of getting a visa. When they objected, they had been threatened, bullied and yelled at. The immigration agents instructed them their US visa which they entered Ghana with at the Aflao border was phony and they will be arrested and detained. They took benefit of these travellers like thousands many others and collected a $100 from each and every of them.
I have numerous pals and family that have shared their experiences at the Sogakopé immigration checkpoint.
The unlucky detail is that this has been going on for so several decades and there has hardly ever been any outcomes.