I am a Citizen. I research and write on Security and Intelligence matters.
I rise to ask Major-General Kotia, the National Coordinator of the Ghana Boundary Commission, what exactly he told the Togolese at Cinkassé that resulted in the settlement of the long standing boundary dispute in the Bempeliga, Berlitanga, Widana, Pulmakom and Kunzuogu areas in the Upper Regions of Ghana and Togo.
For many years, there had been disputes between Ghanaians and Togolese over the socio-economic benefits from sand winning activities in the Kulpeliga river at Bempeliga, and encroachment and sale of land, and construction of a bridge at Berlitanga.
The Togolese authorities reportedly were raking in revenue from the trucks carrying river sand. The Chief and people of Widana on the Ghana side of the border claimed the land as theirs and that they were entitled to the revenue from the sand winning activities.
When Operation Conquered Fist started in the Pusiga District in 2018, the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) Sector Commander, ACI Experience Blawader, tasked some of his Officers at Pulmakom to search for the boundary pillars.
The GIS Officers started at Bimperliga, a village near Widana which has unapproved routes to Togo and Burkina Faso. There have always been problems between Ghana and Togo nationals because of sand winning activities in the Kulpeliga river. The Togolese take tolls from the trucks to the angst of the
chief and people of Widana who say the site is in Ghanaian territory.
At another location along the river, the Togolese authoriies came to construct a bridge, and the Widana Chief complained that the location is in Ghanaian territory.
There is an unapproved route where the Togolese Security have been occupying about 300 metres of territory inside Ghana.
At another location, there are wells under some mango trees which the Widana people said belong to Ghana. But they learnt that the Chief of Cinkassé started to sell the plots of land in the area to citizens of Togo. The Widana Chief reported the matter to the GIS Sector Commander 2ic, ACI Quartey, and the BNI (now NIB), and the DCE for Pusiga. The DCE convened a Pusiga DISEC meeting and the Chief and Elders and Assembyman of Widana were summoned to recount and explain their title to the disputed land.
The Chief and people of Widana claimed that for over fifteen (15) years they have kept on reporting on the Togolese encroachment on their land to the Ghanaian Authorities without any positive outcome.
There were some reported unsavoury situations where Togolese armed military men accosted GIS officials on unapproved routes at Birmpeliga and asked why the Ghanaian Officials were working in Togolese territory.
It is interesting to note that
the boundary demarcation pillars in the Pusiga District are not erected like the boundary pillars in the Volta Region. In Widana, Pulmakom and other border communities, the pillars look like residential plot layout pillars. They are small ones on the ground. In the Bimperliga area, there are five pillars which are buried in the ground.
Ghana and its neighbouring countries face similar security challenges at their borders because crimes cut across borders. Ghana faces security challenges such as, money laundering, refugee influx, trafficking in humans, animals, drugs and arms, smuggling of goods, animal movements, and threat of extremists and terrorists.
How can Ghanaian Authorities counter and prevent cross-border crimes when there is no clarity on some of the country’s boundary demarcations?
How can Ghana handle the breeding of cross-border criminals, extremists and terrorists in disputed border communities?
Additionally, how can Ghana deal with the breeding of cross-border criminals, extremists and terrorists in mushrooming settlements in the “no-man’s land” between it and its neighbouring countries?
May be, the Government of Ghana needs to invest in acquisition of appropriate technology drones and in Intelligence gathering.
The Ghana-Togo Boundary
Ghana and Togo share a 1.098 km land boundary from the Altantic Ocean in the south to tri-point with Burkina Faso in the north.
There are disputes along the land boundary as well as a 50-years old maritime dispute which the Ghana Boundary Commission is tasked to resolve.
It is quite surprising how the Commission coordinated by Major-General Kotia worked very fast to get the Togolese to agree to a 1927 document which demarcated the Kolpeliga river as the boundary between Ghana and Togo in the Upper Regions of the two countries. It is hoped the agreement will stand the test of time.
The Ghana Government has invested manpower, logistics and other resources in “Operation Conquered Fist” and its concomitant Counter-Terorism Operations involving the Military, Ghana Immigration Service, the Police FPU, the National Investigation Bureau (NIB), etc. along the country’s borders in the Northern Sector.
Again, I ask: How effective could Ghana’s Counter-Terrorism Operations be when there were boundary disputes between Ghana and Togo in the Pusiga Operation area; and between Ghana and Burkina Faso at Sapeliga and Paga in the Bawku West and Kasena-Nankana West Operation areas, respectively?
Therefore, it becomes understandable and appreciable the fast and timely resolution of the boundary dispute in the Pusiga District of the Upper East Region.
Fellow Ghanaians, please join me to ask Major-General Kotia what exactly he told the Togolese to agree quickly to the settlement of the boundary dispute in the Polmakom, Widana, Berlitanga, Bempeliga and Kunzuogu areas.
I am surprised!
13th November, 2021
Owula Mangortey is a Panelist on Fridays (8.30-10.00) on #asaasebreakfastshow @AsaaseRadio 99.5 FM