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General News
Let''s weed out passport contractors - Cato 4/11/2007
His Excellency, Mr. Annan Arkyin Cato, Ghana’s High Commissioner to the UK has called on Ghanaians in the UK to stop paying “illegal fees” sometimes as much as £400 to contractors for passports which can be obtained easily for £65.

The High Commissioner revealed that over 500 passport applications were being processed by the Mission weekly and that most of the applications submitted by these contractors were often accompanied by false birth certificates.

Though the situation was putting the Mission “ under considerable pressure”, the High Commissioner assured Ghanaians that the Mission was working fervently to cut down on delays in the processing of passport applications. He indicated that passports could now be obtained within a week while Dual Citizenship certificates could be processed in under three months.

“I am totally committed to the welfare of all Ghanaians in the UK regardless of their political beliefs or social standing, but l also have a sacred responsibility to ensure the integrity of the Ghanaian passport by enforcing the rules that govern the issuance of the document “ declared the High Commissioner.

The High Commissioner made the statement in London at a well-attended function organised by the Ghana Muslim Union, UK (GMU) to commemorate Ghana’s fiftieth independence anniversary which also marked the birthday of the Prophet Mohammed. The occasion which was attended by delegations drawn from the Nigerian Muslim Association, UK , Gonjaland Association, UK, Ghana Muslims Association, Milton Keynes and the Zongo Community in London was used to raise funds for a Social Centre for the GMU.

Present at the event were Alhaji Ahmed Jumba, Chief Imam of GMU; Dr. Bella Bello, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, University of Innsbruck, Austria; Professor Dawud Noibi, OBE, Executive officer of the Nigerian Muslim Union, UK, Alhaji Lawal Bawa, Chairman of GMU; Hajia Hajara, Secretary, GMU and Chair of Ghana Muslim Women and Alhaji Baba Toure, Zongo Chief, London

His Excellency, Mr. Annan Cato expressed the hope that the Ghana National Identification Card when introduced would go a long way to streamline passport acquisition in Ghana and at the Mission. His Excellency said the card would also facilitate the implementation of the ROPAB as soon as the requisite modalities had been defined by the Electoral Commission.

High Commissioner Cato said Ghana had survived many storms during its 50 years of nationhood because of the unity of our people and the tolerance that Ghanaians have for one another. He stressed that the Ghana today was better than Ghana in 1957.

“To say that Ghana was better in 1957 is to say that Ghanaians as a people were prepared to accept subjugation, exploitation and the dictates of a colonial power as opposed to the freedom and sovereignty we enjoy today” said the High Commissioner.

The High Commissioner paid tribute to the Prophet Mohammed for bequeathing “ a religion of peace and brotherhood” to the world and urged the members of GMU to adhere strictly to the tenets of their religion and sustain the solidarity currently prevailing amongst Ghanaians.

On his part, Professor Dawuda Noibi encouraged Muslims to remain committed to the doctrines and teachings of the Prophet Mohammed and cautioned them not to allow trends on the global scene and other ideologies to dissuade or compel them to compromise their loyalty to Allah.

He urged them to follow in the steps of the Prophet Mohammed in their dealings with one another and bring up their children in accordance with the instruction of the Koran to win the mercy of Allah for themselves and their descendants.

Presenting a lecture on the contribution of Islam to the development of Ghana over the past 50 years, Dr Bello observed that the religion introduced literacy, a vibrant industry in colanuts and a unique architecture to the entire sahelian region in the West Africa prior to the advent of the Europeans

The High Commissioner was accompanied to the celebration by Mrs Gifty Anim-Botwe, Minister Counsellor, Passport & Immigration, Mrs Emelia Aning, Minister Counsellor Education; Mr Appiah Donyina, Minister Counsellor Trade and Mr. Charles Wereko , Minister Counsellor Information.



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