Kotoka International Airport
The Ghana Airport Company Limited (GACL) has reacted to a viral video that circulated on social media regarding an alleged maltreatment of some passengers on arrival at the Kotoka International (KIA) because they refused to pay for the COVID-19 test.
The viral video showed a group of stranded passengers at KIA, including a nursing mother and her baby.
A statement issued by the company’s management on 5 October 2020, disclosed that “the video in circulation was taken by disgruntled passengers who refused to pay for the test on arrival, and were waiting to be transported by state security agencies.”
According to the statement, all arriving passengers are expected to follow the Airport’s set guidelines, as part of measures to control the spread of coronavirus in order “to ensure the safety and protection of the Ghanaian populace.”
Part of the statement read: “Management wishes to emphasise that the guidelines for arriving passengers state that passengers who refuse to pay for the COVID-19 test will be handed over to state security agencies and taken into quarantine at a designated location.”
The statement reiterated the company’s “utmost responsibility to ensure a smooth facilitation process of passengers, especially during the COVID-19 era”, while entreating all passengers “to strictly adhere to the published guidelines in the interest of health and safety of all Ghanaians.”
Meanwhile, the vice-presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Prof Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, upon seeing the video, called on President Nana Akufo-Addo and his Minister of Health, Mr Kweku Agyeman-Manu, to immediately intervene to ensure that the nursing mother and her infant child, as well the other Ghanaians who flew in from outside and have been detained at the airport for their inability to pay the COVID-19 test fee, are allowed entry.
She said the fee must be waived for them since they should not be stranded in their own country.
In a statement, Prof Opoku-Agyemang said: “My attention has been drawn to a disturbing video circulating online purporting to show Ghanaian travellers, who have been detained and stranded at the Kotoka International Airport for their inability to raise $150 each to pay for the COVID test”.
“It is a distressing video”, she said, “but what is particularly heartbreaking is seeing a young nursing mother and an infant dealing with these inhumane conditions”.
The former Minister of Education said: “It is the primary responsibility of any government to offer aid to all of its citizens, especially in times like these”.
“No Ghanaian should be left stranded in their own country and no government should look on unconcerned.
“No citizen is any less of a Ghanaian because of their economic circumstance.
“All Ghanaians matter”, she noted.
“I respectfully call on the sector minister, as well as the President to show compassion in a time like this, waive their fees, and eventually release these vulnerable citizens to join their families at home”, the statement said.
It added: “Ghana can do better than this”.
The General Manager of Accra100.5FM, Mr Kojo Preko Dankwa, also offered to pay the $150 COVID-19 test fee for the nursing mother and her infant.
Kwabena Prah Jr, host of the station’s morning show, Ghana Yensom, announced the promise of his GM on Wednesday, 7 October 2020 on his show.