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The deportation of all migrant workers that became Busia’s most fatal mistake

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Wed, 24 Aug 2022 Source:

A veteran Ghanaian soldier who served in the days of Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings, in the 1970s, has opined that the biggest mistake of the Kofi Abrefa Busia government was the deportation of migrant workers in Ghana.

According to Robert Beckley 1, what Busia failed to understand about the role of the migrants in the country at the time was that they were helping the economy in a way that the locals were not interested in.

Speaking in an interview with YouTuber, Aaron Ayiih, the veteran soldier explained that this decision, known as the Aliens Compliance Order, became one of the things that brought economic challenges to the Busia administration.

“Political leaders in Ghana have done some good things but Busia, he did a fatal mistake: he deported all the migrant workers, and that was the time of fuel prices in the world. And these migrant workers, unbeknownst to him, because he was a professor of sociology and no one told him that these were the guys who come and pick up our cocoa when it’s time because for most Ghanaians, when they get money, they want to go to college, they want to go to school – they want to go and learn.

“But these guys from Mali, Niger, they come and they are ready to do it. And I remember them; truckload, from 37 roundabout to Legon, truck upon truck, carrying workers out of the country to Togo, all the way to Nigeria.

“This Busia did, I’ll tell you, within six months, or maybe a year, the cedi devalued and it became a big problem,” he said.

The “Aliens Compliance Order” of November 18, 1969, affected some migrants from other West African countries such as Togo, Burkina Faso, and Ivory-Coast, with a majority of the victims being Yorubas from South-Western Nigeria.

They numbered about 140,000 out of an estimated 191,000 Nigerian immigrant stock in Ghana then, a report by said.

Ghanaians hailed the expulsion order which they regarded as “a patriotic move to garner jobs for Ghanaians and rid the country of crimes.”

It should be observed, however, that agitation for deportation of “aliens” or “strangers”, as the foreign migrants were referred to by Ghanaian natives, started around the mid-20th century.

Watch the full interview of Robert Beckley 1 below: