The government says that, contrary to reports by some media organisations in England that the UK government is drawing up a plan with Ghana and Rwanda to resettle migrants to the UK in their territories, it has neither commenced nor reached any such agreement with either Great Britain or the British prime minister, Boris Johnson.
A report posted on thetimes.co.uk, the news portal of the Times newspaper of London, on Sunday (16 January 2022) says Prime Minister Boris Johnson is planning to put the armed forces in charge of stemming the number of boats carrying illegal immigrants across the English Channel to the UK. The move will be just one attempt by Johnson to save his premiership, it says.
The report, written jointly by Steven Swinford, political editor of the Times, and Matt Dathan, home affairs editor, further states that “plans are also being drawn up to send migrants to countries such as Ghana and Rwanda for processing and resettlement in a move to tackle the small boats crisis”.
Asaase News sources in the Office of the President however tell us that when the British government, acting through Priti Patel, the UK home secretary, and Liz Truss, the foreign secretary, proposed the idea to President Akufo-Addo, he rejected it outright.
The president, our sources say, made it clear that Ghana will be unable to assist the UK in this regard.
President Akufo-Addo was therefore surprised to learn that news portals in the UK are claiming that Ghana is involved in the British governments plans with regard to migrant resettlement, a source familiar with the matter said.
According to the UK Home Office, almost 100 illegal migrants crossed the English Channel in small boats on Monday 10 January alone.
The government department said 96 people crossed in three boats. French officials also succeeded in preventing one boat with 56 people on board from making the same journey that day, it said.
The number of people who crossed the English Channel in small boats in 2021 was three times the number in 2020. Official figures show at least 28,431 migrants made the journey last year, despite huge UK investment in France to prevent crossings.
On 24 November 2021, at least 27 people died when their boat sank as they attempted to cross the Channel, the narrow stretch of sea between the southern coast of England and mainland Europe. The same month saw a new record for a single day, when 1,185 people reached British shores aboard 33 boats.
In 2020 the largest number of arrivals on a single day was 416, a record set in September.