Deadly borders of West Africa – a transnational investigation

Increasingly, West African borders have become notorious for all sorts of crime from almost every corner of the sub-regional borders; extortion racketeering and corruption are the order of the day at all the borders in the ECOWAS region. The borders of West Africa have been turned into illegal money-making ventures which rake in thousands of Ghana cedis, Nigerian naira and CFA francs for the security agents positioned there.

There is no way you can cross any of the West African borders today without paying money to the security agents. Between the Aflao (Ghana) and Lome (Togo) border posts, a traveller must have at least CFA 5,000 (GH₵25) to be able to cross to either side. Between Elubo and Noe, border posts between Ghana and Ivory Coast, a traveller with a single piece of luggage needs about CFA 4,500 to cross to either side. The same thing applies to the Ghana – Burkina Faso border between Paga and Dakola, this investigations reveal.

When crossing from Aflao in Ghana to Lome in Togo the traveller with a Ghanaian passport pays CFA 1,000 at each of five different points in the Togo section of the border. A traveller with a Francophone passport pays the same amount at about three different points at the Ghanaian section of the border just to be able to cross over. Only heads of state, Presidents, diplomats and other high ranking state officials are exempted from such extortion when crossing the borders of West Africa. Apart from these, everybody is forced to obey the extornionst orders of border security agents. The Immigration service, Customs Excise and Preventive service (CEPS), Police and National Security Agents have been positioned on each side at the borders of West African countries – and all of them are engaged in one form or another of extortion, this investigation reveal.

By Kwabena Adu Koranteng (Ghana) & Ouamar Abdulai (Burkina Faso).

Published September 4, 2012 in The Crusading Guide.

Read the article Deadly borders of West Africa

And the follow up story published September 10, 2012: Togo government reacts on the story Deadly Borders.