A ceremony was held on Tuesday, May 10, 2022 at Aflao in the Ketu South Municipality to sensitise communities living along the Ghana-Togo International Boundary line and launch the reaffirmation of the Ghana-Togo boundary.
The ceremony had the participation of the Hon. Volta Regional Minister, Hon. Member of Parliament for Ketu South Constituency, Hon. Municipal Chief Executives for Ketu South and Ketu North, His Excellency the German Ambassador to Ghana, His Excellency the German Ambassador to Togo, Programme Head of GIZ/African Union Border Programme, Officials of the Ghana Boundary Commission, Officials of the National Land Boundary Commission of Togo, Traditional Rulers from Aflao Traditional Council, and Traditional Rulers from Togo. The Ghana Boundary Commission and their Togolese counterpart jointly organized the ceremony with support from the Ketu South Municipal Assembly.
The Hon. Municipal Chief Executive for Ketu South, Mr. Maxwell Koffie Lugudor, in his Welcome Address expressed his joy about the ceremony and stressed how the reaffirmation of the boundary would be beneficial to the people of his municipality, especially in addressing issues of conflict at the boundary.
The Hon. Volta Regional Minister, Dr. Archibald Yao Letsa, in his Opening Remarks, heartily welcomed the two Ambassadors, Officials from Togo, Programme Head of GIZ/African Union Border Programme (AUBP) and other guests to the ceremony on behalf of His Excellency the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. He indicated that the ceremony formed part of the First Phase of the reaffirmation which was being undertaken between Aflao and Akanu in the Ketu North Municipality on the Ghana side of the border. He stated that the boundary between the two countries may be slightly blurred which is attributable to the boundaries not being affirmed. He pointed out that the fact that some boundary pillars had been eroded, tampered with or removed had led to the slight blur. He therefore underscored the need to clearly reaffirm the international boundary line with new and visible markings.
Dr. Letsa acknowledged the good standing relationship, culturally and socially, that exists between the two countries. He stated that the communities that live along the boundary line of the two countries share similar ethnic groups, languages among other defining similarities which foster good neighbourliness between the two countries. In that regard, he emphasised the need to have the boundary well-defined to prevent any disputes and sustain the present peaceful relationship.
Furthermore, he acknowledged that the joint reaffirmation of the international boundary line shall serve as a tool for safeguarding the peace and security of both countries in light of the nature of emerging security threats emanating along the West African sub-region.
The Hon. Regional Minister noted that the reaffirmation of the boundary line shall be done by the construction and placement of new boundary pillars at the appropriate earmarked points jointly by the Ghana Boundary Commission and the National Land Boundary Commission of Togo in line with the African Union Border Programme Strategic Plan which has been derived from the African Union Cross Border Arrangement.
Dr. Letsa highly commended the efforts of the officials of the Ghana Boundary Commission and the National Land Boundary Commission of Togo toward the reaffirmation project. Particularly, he was full of praise for Maj. General Emmanuel Kotia, the National Co-ordinator, Ghana Boundary Commission for the good work the Commission was doing.
The Hon. Regional Minister used the ceremony to entreat residents, traditional authorities, opinion leaders among others living along the boundary line to be proactive in identifying any issue that shall affect the international line and the boundary pillar markings and report same to the appropriate authorities.
He appealed to the communities to co-operate with the technical team made up of officers from both countries to ensure a successful reaffirmation exercise
He conveyed the appreciation of the President of the Republic and the People of Ghana to the two Ambassadors for their support. He equally expressed appreciation to the Head of German Agency for International Cooperation/African Union Border Programme (AUBP) and his team for their technical advice, support and their presence in the reaffirmation exercise.
The Permanent Secretary of the National Land Boundary Commission of Togo on his part, expressed joy about the ceremony and stated that the issue was about reaffirmation of the existing boundary line and not re-demarcation. He stated that boundaries touch on the sovereignty of every nation.
He expressed appreciation to GIZ/African Union Border Programme for the initiative of the reaffirmation and was optimistic that offices of both countries would work together to deliver a good job.
Maj. General Kotia while addressing the gathering on the topic, “Role of International Boundary Pillars in Promoting Cross-Border Cooperation” stated the Ghana Boundary Commission is leading negotiations on behalf of Ghana on the identification and reaffirmation of existing boundaries of Ghana.
He stated that the boundary pillars which were first erected on the boundary lines between Ghana and Togo in 1929 and later 1975 had disappeared as a result of either or the combination of the following factors:
- Improper construction of the pillars,
- Human activity.
He stated that four types of boundary pillars; namely Pillar 1 (Land Boundary Terminus, Main Pillars, Intermediary Pillars and Border-Crossing Pillars; would be constructed at appropriate points from Aflao to Akanu. He therefore intimated the need for the people who live around the boundary to understand the markings on the pillars and what the pillars stand for.
He indicated that the pillars when constructed belong to both countries and entreated that anyone who tries to remove the pillars should be reported. He therefore appealed to the communities near the boundary lines to protect the pillars
He pointed out that when the boundary line is reaffirmed, it must lead to the prevention of encroachment and assist security services to determine the limit of their activities.
Maj. General Kotia reminded the gathering that technical officers from both countries would be working together to erect the pillars which would not exceed fifty (50). He stated that the exercise shall commence on May 12, 2022 and end on May 28, 2022 with the use of drones, military helicopter and support from the Armed Forces. He therefore appealed for the cooperation of the communities living in the catchment area, toward a successful exercise.
He expressed the hope that Pillar one at the Aflao-Lome Main Border shall be unveiled on May 30, 2022.
H.E. the German Ambassador to Ghana, Mr. Daniel Krull and his counterpart the Ambassador to Togo, Mr. Matthias Veltin, expressed joy that the heads of the institutions championing the exercise in their respective countries noted that it was reaffirmation and not re-demarcation. They indicated that the German Government’s support for the programme is aimed at conflict prevention. They were hopeful that officials of the two countries shall continue to work together toward the successful reaffirmation of the Boundary.
The Programme Head of GIZ/AUBP, Mr. Esayas Abebe was appreciative of the invitation the Governments of both countries have extended to him to participate in the ceremony. He however posited that colonial boundaries have become a source of conflict in Africa. He therefore stated that the GIZ/AUBP is to assist African Countries to cooperate and address boundary lines issues amicably in order to promote socio-economic growth.
The dignitaries were taken to the site for the erection of Pillar 1 (Terminus Land Boundary) which shall be two meters (2m) below and four meters (4m) above ground level.