Fourteen people, including a woman, have been arrested at Aboaso, near Ntonso in the Kwabre East municipality in the Ashanti Region.
Aged between 20 and 27 years, they were picked up on suspicion that they entered the country after the travel restrictions were imposed. However, after interrogations, it came out that the 14, all Benin nationals, did not have permits to work or stay, and had overstayed the 90 days allowed for nationals of ECOWAS member states.
The Regional Security Council (RESEC) said it made the arrest at about 4 a.m. last Monday at their residence at Aboaso based on intelligence.
Those picked up have, thus, been sent to the Ashanti Regional Immigration for detention, pending further investigations and action.
The Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr Simon Osei Mensah, last Monday led journalists to the Kumasi South Hospital (Agogo Hospital), where the immigrants were sent for testing for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
After screening, they were provided with nose masks before being sent to the immigration office for onward interrogation.
The Ashanti Regional Head of Operations/ Enforcement of the Ghana Immigration Service, Chief Superintendent Mr Fiifi Ocran, however, allayed the fears of residents, saying the suspects were already in the country before the COVID-19 outbreak.
He said although the immigrants had not been granted permits to work or live in the country, “they entered the country between November and December 2019.”
That notwithstanding, he added, they had all overstayed their 90 days ECOWAS visitors’ permit.
Briefing the media after his visit the isolation centre at the hospital, the regional minister cautioned drivers, who smuggled foreigners into the country to desist from such acts or face the wrath of authorities.
He also cautioned landlords and landladies to do the necessary background checks before renting their apartments to people, saying that “we were not in normal times”.